Semiconductor supplier STMicroelectronics announced today it inaugurated a new 200-mm (8-in.) semiconductor wafer fabrication line dedicated to microelectromechanical systems (MEMS) at its manufacturing site in Agrate, near Milan, Italy. ST said it is the first major MEMS manufacturer to produce devices using 200-mm wafers and it has invested about $40 million in transforming its former 150-mm (6-in.) production area into the MEMS line, which will manufacture parts for accelerometers, gyroscopes, miniature microphones and pressure sensors. The MEMS area employs more than 100 people and occupies 1300 square meters at the site. MEMS technology allows the electrical and mechanical properties of silicon to be simultaneously exploited and is being rapidly adopted in a wide range of computer, consumer, automotive and industrial applications. The inauguration event featured a roundtable discussion of Italy's role in high-tech industries by Italian academics, writers and industrialists; an overview of MEMS markets and opportunities presented by Benedetto Vigna, general manager of ST's MEMS business unit; and a customer application example inside laptop computers, presented by Hisao Tsukazawa, group manager of Toshiba's PC Development Center.