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Manual Micromachined Mirrors (Microsystems)

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Since then, work has expanded the original production capacity by almost ten times at the end of Then, the equipment was converted from mm 4in to mm 6in. In November , the French manufacturer also announced that it is manufacturing geophones for Sercel, a world leader in seismic exploration equipment for the petroleum industry. Common designs fabricated with the service include high performance capacitive inertial sensors accelerometers and gyrometers, for example and electrostatic optical actuators.

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The US has in recent years seen production across a broader number of applications, from industrial instrumentation to biomedical equipment. Gyrometers and bioMEMS applications are particularly expanding. MEMS developers are now focusing on more practical and simpler devices than before. The Wide RF project will also develop modeling and simulation tools and perform reliability studies.

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Thus, the microsystems technology is enabling technology for integration of almost any physical, chemical and biological phenomena that includes motion, light, sound, chemistry, biochemistry, RF signals and computation, probably all in a single chip. Simpler systems, such as hearing aids, have already been implemented. In the automobile industry, most of the modern cars have the micro-accelerometer which triggers and deploys an air balloon and protects the passengers from injury during a sudden deceleration or acceleration.

Microsystems based on pressure sensors find wide range of applications in all walks of life including defense, aerospace, automobile and home appliances. Microsystems using micro-accelerometers and micro-gyroscopes are most important in the inertial navigation systems for tracking position and to maintain stability of the system. Thus, the microsystem is a fascinating area which has been progressing with rapid strides.

There is scope for research and product development in this field for researchers and entrepreneurs in all the areas of science, engineering and technology.

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Lecture - 10 Micromachining Technology for MEMS

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Material featured on this Website may be reproduced in the relevant contexts. Miniaturization of medical instruments is of interest for a number of reasons, dependent on the application. In the case of surgical instruments, the decreasing size would mean a less invasive operating procedure for patient, which also would mean a faster rate of recovery for the patient. Furthermore, having micron-size instruments would mean that previously untreatable complication pertaining to neural and cell repair is fast becoming a thing of the past. Having the ability to shrink instruments to incredibly small sizes also means that previously time consuming and expensive diagnostic procedures can be done by relatively unskilled personnel on Credit-Card size devices.

Similar in function to their room size cousin but smaller in cost, these MEMS-based devices will be able to do things like DNA testing, blood testing and many more. And due to its size, only a small amount of test sample is needed for the diagnosis and to top it off, the decreasing cost of the device allows it to become disposable, hence reducing the chances of potential health hazard.

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Another area of potential beneficial application of MEMS-based devices in the biomedical field comes in the form of implants. The idea is to have a small drug-dispensing device implanted into patients for the slow dispensing of drugs like antibiotics, etc. This method of slow dispensing will even out the dosage of drugs in the body as compared to that of popping pills and injections. MEMS-based devices can also be used to make high performance, high precision switches.

These switches can be used for directing signals and to switch on or off micro devices. One of the commercialized switches can be found in the Optical industry and was developed in by Marxer and Sercalo for the directing of signals. One of the main advantages of the switch comes from its low rate of signal loss. Figure 6.

US6086776A - Hybrid optical multi-axis beam steering apparatus - Google Patents

The Marxer and Sercalo Optical Switch. As the name suggested, the MEMS micro-pump is a miniature version of its much larger cousin. However, the method of pumping fluids and gases can be very different from that of their macro cousins. Some of the more interesting pumping methods are a using bubble, b using sound waves and c thermal expansion of the fluid. These devices comprised of an array of MEMS-based heater elements that are positioned in small ink well, behind simple orifices. When the heater is turned on, a bubble is formed in the ink, which shoots ink through the orifice.

The accurate positioning of the bubble can be achieved by the positioning of the heater element. As time progressed, advances in the MEMS manufacturing technology has led to these components from dispensing black ink to dispensing full color ink. This is also accompanied by the increased precision of the ink drop sizes hence an increase in resolution of print.

Grasping and manipulating small or micro-objects is required for a wide range of important applications, such as the assembly of small parts to obtain microsystems , surgery and research in biology and biotechnology. In fact, as most industrial fields exhibit a clear trend towards miniturization , the need for techniques and equipment for manipulating micro-objects with high accuracy and speed becomes increasingly evident.

Today, MEMS-based technology is still far from producing micro robots which can do surgery in the human body, or several inches sized silicon satellites. This is partially because while micromachining fabrication has already progressed to the extent of being able to create several layers of planar structure precisely, it normally does not permit too much assembling and thus limits the feasibility of producing complex, especially three dimensional, microstructures.

To achieve more sophisticated structures, assembling of micro components is indispensable. Furthermore, the maintenance and modification of such systems will also require the gripping and manipulating of the micro parts in the systems. Hence there exists the need for a micro-gripper, which is the purpose of this project. But a closer look will reveal that given the slightly more than 10 years of works done in this area, it is only recently that the amount of resources involved in the research and development of MEMS have increased dramatically. This recent explosion in interest in the MEMS area could have been, in part, a result of the successful commercialization of some high profile products like the micro-accelerometer and Bubble Jet Printer Head.


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In order to make MEMS technology a successful commercial one, a great amount of efforts will be needed on the research and development of sensors, actuators, materials and processing technologies. However, the magnitude of this leveraging has begun to lessen due to the speed of progress and change in the IC fabrication arena.

Most industrial commercialization of the technology will likely come from the relatively more direct applications in the future. These include simple structural components, where the short-term return can be readily attainable. Unfortunately, in most cases, either the device has yet to exist, or have not even been imaged by potential users. The accessibility of companies, both small and large, to MEMS fabrication facilities needs to be increased.