Microfabrication is the term that describes processes of fabrication of miniature structures, of micrometre
A micrometer , is by definition 1×10-6 of a meter .In plain English, it means one-millionth of a meter . Its unit symbol in the International System of Units is μm...

 sizes and smaller. Historically the earliest microfabrication processes were used for integrated circuit
Integrated circuit
An integrated circuit or monolithic integrated circuit is an electronic circuit manufactured by the patterned diffusion of trace elements into the surface of a thin substrate of semiconductor material...

 fabrication, also known as "semiconductor manufacturing" or "semiconductor device fabrication". In the last two decades microelectromechanical systems
Microelectromechanical systems
Microelectromechanical systems is the technology of very small mechanical devices driven by electricity; it merges at the nano-scale into nanoelectromechanical systems and nanotechnology...

 (MEMS), microsystems (European usage), micromachines
Micromachines are mechanical objects that are fabricated in the same general manner as integrated circuits. They are generally considered to be between 100 nanometres to 100 micrometres in size, though that is debatable. The applications of micromachines include accelerometers that detect when a...

 (Japanese terminology) and their subfields, microfludics/lab-on-a-chip, optical MEMS (also called MOEMS), RF MEMS, PowerMEMS, BioMEMS and their extension into nanoscale (for example NEMS, for nano electro mechanical systems) have re-used, adapted or extended microfabrication methods.