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Archive for the 'MEMS' Category

Nanotechnology reveals communications among immune system cells

Posted by Jim Lewis on September 9th, 2008

Nanotech contributions to the development of medical science now include devices that can decipher the chemical communications among individual cells. A new microfluidic device called a multi-trap nanophysiometer promises to be particularly useful in elucidating the communications among individual cells of the immune system, and perhaps eventually revealing what goes wrong during the immune system’s [...]

Graphene provides extraordinarily stiff beams for nanotechnology

Posted by Jim Lewis on September 2nd, 2008

Add to graphene’s record-breaking strength the discovery that graphene beams are unexpectedly stiff.

Weighing atoms with nanotechnology

Posted by Jim Lewis on July 31st, 2008

A double-walled carbon nanotube forms a device able to weigh a single atom of gold.

Another way to manipulate individual DNA molecules

Posted by Jim Lewis on July 15th, 2008

Individual DNA molecules can also be manipulated by optical tweezers and microfabricated structures.

Will a "’proto-prototype’ for a nanoassembler" lead to atomically precise manufacturing?

Posted by Jim Lewis on April 30th, 2008

A special issue of the International Journal of Nanomanufacturing presenting topics on manufacturing in 3D at the nanoscale (derived from the 4th International Symposium on Nanomanufacturing held at MIT in November 2006) contains a report of a nanomanipulator for the complex assembly of nanoparticles. Although the press release from Inderscience Publishers, via AAAS EurekAlert (“Are [...]

Scanning probe tip arrays for denser, faster, cheaper memories through nanotechnology

Posted by Jim Lewis on February 20th, 2008

Among the most useful tools for nanotechnology are various scanning probe tips for surface modification.

An attogram of DNA to go please…

Posted by Christine Peterson on May 20th, 2005

Posted by Robert Bradbury: Cornell scientists, headed by Harold Craighead, and researchers at Tel Aviv University have a forthcoming paper in Nano Letters regarding the use of nanoscale cantilever oscillators to detect the presence of single DNA molecules weighing ~1 attogram (~995,000 Daltons). PhysOrg discusses it here. Uses may include detecting bacteria or viruses of [...]

Shape-Shifting Robot Pyramid for Nanotech Swarms

Posted by RobertBradbury on March 31st, 2005

Roland Piquepaille writes "NASA is testing a shape-shifting robot called "TETwalker" for tetrahedral walker, because it looks like a flexible pyramid. It has been tested in the lab and at the McMurdo station in Antarctica to test it under conditions more like those on Mars. Now, it is on the way to be — really — miniaturized by using micro- and nano-electro-mechanical systems. These robots will eventually join together to form "autonomous nanotechnology swarms" (ANTS). When it's done, in about thirty years, these nanotech swarms will "alter their shape to flow over rocky terrain or to create useful structures like communications antennae and solar sails." So in 2034, nanotechnology will land on Mars. Read more for other details and references about the TETwalker and the ANTS project."

Millipede comes out of the lab

Posted by RobertBradbury on March 12th, 2005

PhysOrg is reporting that IBM Zurich is showing off its Millipede storage device at CeBIT. For those unfamiliar with this device it uses cantilever arms to read & write a polymer medium.

As the pits that the cantilevers read & write are ~10nm in diameter it is definitely a nanoscale device. The storage density is approximately 1 terabit per sq. inch. That capacity in that size implies that one should be able to fit the contents of a entire college education into a handheld device.

The world’s fastest oscillating mechanical device

Posted by RobertBradbury on February 13th, 2005

Roland Piquepaille writes "It's an antenna, it's a MEMS device, and it's a macroscopic quantum system. This antenna, made of 50 billion atoms, is so far the largest structure to display quantum mechanical movements. It's also the fastest device of its kind in the world, oscillating about 1.5 billion times per second. Such technology might soon be used in our cell phones. But more importantly, this device bridges classic and quantum physics. Such "mechanical/quantum mechanical hybrids could be used for quantum computing" in the future. Read more for other details, references and a picture showing different views of this world's fastest nanomechanical structure."

Ed. Note: This submission has been edited to correct misleading terms. See first comment.

Nanomechanical Memory Outstrips Chip Technology

Posted by RobertBradbury on January 2nd, 2005

Roland Piquepaille writes "This sounds almost too good to be true — at least for some time. Physicists from Boston University have fabricated nanomechanical switches which promise fantastic advances in data storage. Their nanodevices will have densities exceeding by orders of magnitude existing storage devices. They will deliver data at speeds in the megahertz (and possibly gigahertz) range, also exceeding by far the few hundred kilohertz of our current hard drives. And finally, they will only use some femtowatts of power each, leading to hard drives consuming maybe a million times less electricity than existing devices. So, where's the catch? Will we ever see hard drives built with these nanomechanical switches? Honestly, I don't know, but read more for other details and references."

Mechanical Memory Switch Development

Posted by RobertBradbury on October 15th, 2004

Several people, including Roland and Patrick, have pointed out that physicists from Boston University have fabricated nanomechanical switches which promise significant advances in data storage densities (to much greater than 100GB/in2).

Nanotube Oscillator Might Weigh a Single Atom

Posted by Jim Lewis on September 20th, 2004

Roland Piquepaille writes "Recent developments in nanoelectromechanical systems (NEMS) have typically used vibrating silicon rods so small that they oscillate at radio frequencies. But now, Cornell University researchers have replaced the silicon rod by a carbon nanotube. This new electromechanical oscillator might be capable of weighing a single atom. The oscillator consists "of a carbon nanotube from one to four nanometers in diameter and about one-and-a-half micrometers long, suspended between two electrodes above a conducting silicon plate." Such an oscillator, tunable from 3 to 200 MHz, could be used in future cell phones, which have to change frequently their operating frequencies. The only problem is that the current production of carbon nanotubes is too small for such a huge market. Read more for additional details and references."

Photonic chips go 3D

Posted by Jim Lewis on August 3rd, 2004

Roland Piquepaille writes "Building computer chips which use light instead of electricity will be possible in a few years, thanks to the new techniques developed by two separate research teams from the MIT and Kyoto University. Both have built photonic crystals that can be manufactured using processes suited to mass production. Technology Research News says that "the techniques could be used to make smaller, more efficient communications devices, create optical memory and quantum computing and communications devices, develop new types of lasers and biological and chemical sensors, and could ultimately lead to all-optical computer processors." Please read this overview for more details and references about the two different approaches towards photonic chips, which measure only hundreds of nanometers — right now."

Tiny Machines Need Even Tinier Lubricants

Posted by Jim Lewis on April 3rd, 2004

JamGrrl writes "This isn't exactly big news, but this article details many of the problems in getting MEMS to work — specifically, how do you lubercate a machine when the oil molecule itself is just too big? It turns out that alcohol is one useful candidate. An informative read."

Laser allows NEMS device to work in air

Posted by Jim Lewis on October 22nd, 2002

from the tuning-tiny-sensors dept.
Nano-Machines Get Some Fresh Air, posted Oct. 1, 2002 to Daily inScight, describes work that could considerably broaden the potential uses of NEMS (nanoelectromechanical) devices. The researchers used laser light shining through a 2 micrometer-square piece of silicon suspended by a pair of 200-nanometer-thick silicon beams to allow the silicon to vibrate at a precise frequency in air, the way that it would vibrate in a vacuum without the laser light. Since a single bacterium or several virus particles stuck to the square would change the vibration frequency, this advance opens the way to developing NEMS devices as ultrasensitive biodetectors.

Making Patterns in Diamond

Posted by Jim Lewis on October 20th, 2002

from the diamond-NEMS-parts? dept.
Gina Miller writes "Silicon Strategies reports in Diamond used to break the mould that a Japanese team has developed a technique to build diamond moulds for what it calls nanoimprint lithography (NIL) to try to print rather than image features on chips. The team uses an electron beam lithography system to produce sub-100nm patterns, and is 'currently preparing a paper describing techniques for patterning three-dimensional diamond moulds.' I guess that we will have to see the paper to know if they have a path toward making diamondoid machinery pieces."

Nanotechnology for homeland security?

Posted by Jim Lewis on October 6th, 2002

from the sniffing-around-with-nanodevices dept.
Gina Miller writes "Accoring to the Detroit News (Sept. 27, 2002), 9-11 drives advances in nanotechnology: 'The events of Sept. 11 have focused awareness, increased funding and accelerated the commercialization of micro- and nanotechnology devices that can sense minute traces of chemical, biological and nuclear agents in the air or water …' The focus of the article is MEMS and microsystems companies that currently produce handheld devices for monitoring air and water quality, and are working on smaller devices. Will homeland security also push development of molecular manufacturing and medical and other nanobots?"

Laying pure nanotubes in square grids

Posted by Jim Lewis on October 3rd, 2002

from the square-one-for-nanotube-chips? dept.
IBM grows nanotube patterns on silicon wafers, a September 30 EETimes article reported that IBM has grown catalyst-free nanotube networks on silicon carbide substrates, producing "grids of nanotubes (in rows and columns), bringing the promise of nanotube transistors arrayed across silicon chips one step closer to reality".

Nanotechnology Industry Exchanges

Posted by Jim Lewis on October 2nd, 2002

from the Potential-applications-of-MEMS-and-NEMS dept.
Antonio Correia writes "Since July 2002, NEXUS and PHANTOMS have jointly started a concerted action aimed at bridging micro and nanotechnologies. …. The intention is to enable a better understanding of the future potential of nanotechnology in the context of microsystems-driven applications." For more information