Manufacture and machining of structure dimensions between 0.1 µm and 1000 µm. Regular mechanical machining methods cannot be used for the treatment of these extremely small structures. Instead, methods such as photolithography and plasma etching processes (DRIE; RIE) are applied. The major fields of application for microtechnology:
- Micro-electronics: Generation of structures in semiconductors and conductors,in particular by means of photolithography processes.
- Micro-optics: Manufacture of optical components such as diffraction gratings, gaps, microlenses
- Micro-mechanics: Manufacture of mechanical functional parts such as gear wheels, gearboxes and axes, using the manufacturing methods of micro-electronics.
- Generation of microfluid structures for chemical, biological land medical analyses with channels, pumps, valves in dimensions of under 1 mm (lab-on-a-chip)
- Manufacture of moulds for casting or injection moulding micro-mechanical components, for example microfluid layouts
Since it is often very difficult to assemble microtechnical components in complex arrangements, attempts are made to create multifunctional systems from a single component, for example the mechanical and electrical function of an electrical microswitch made of a silicon substrate. The technology of integrating microtechnical components is referred to as microsystem technology.