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Archive for the 'MEMS' Category

More flexible optical tweezers

Posted by Jim Lewis on September 20th, 2002

from the Picking-and-placing dept.
Ravi Pandya writes "From Nature, September 12 2002 'Self-healing tweezers' (free registration required):"

The development of optical tweezers for the manipulation of objects at micrometre and submicrometre scales has opened up many new possibilities across the physical and biological sciences. The use of self-reconstructing 'Bessel beams' now extends their potential to allow the simultaneous manipulation of many different objects by a single set of tweezers….

Carbon nanotubes on Intel chips?

Posted by Jim Lewis on September 6th, 2002

from the rumors-and-speculations dept.
c/net reports Intel to unveil nanotechnology plans at a forum in San Jose next Thursday. A senior vice president of Intel is to reveal previously announced strategies for moving from the current 130-nm chip elements to less than 100-nm elements. The article speculates that unannounced research efforts to be revealed might include carbon nanotube use in chips. A Nanodot post of August 14 2002 reported Intel's first foray into nanotechnology with 'strained silicon' technology.

Scientists Unlock Secrets To Artificial Gecko Glue

Posted by Jim Lewis on September 5th, 2002

from the gecko-not-GEICO dept.
JohnPierce writes with an example where scientists studying a biological phenomenon gained an insight that might be useful with microscale and perhaps nanoscale design and fabrication. Scientists Prove How Geckos Stick, Unlock Secrets To Making Artificial Gecko Glue

Intel Makes Nano Leap

Posted by Jim Lewis on August 15th, 2002

from the straining-for-speed dept.
Gina Miller writes " reports that the Santa Clara, Calif. based Intel Corperation is making plans to 'leap into the nanotechnology era' with a 'strained silicon' technology in which the lattice structure of a silicon wafer is strained to stretch the atoms apart, boosting electric current flow and chip performance and lowering costs. This 90 nm process technology will be used to make transistors with gate lengths less than 50 nanometers, and will be used to produce a chip named 'Prescott' that is schedualed to hit the market towards the end of 2003. Some technical details on the process can be downloaded as a PDF file from the Intel site."

Nanotubes grown on wafer

Posted by Jim Lewis on August 14th, 2002

from the bridging-small-gaps dept.
Nanotubes grown in place, an article by Eric Smalley in Technology Research News, reports the accomplishment of Stanford University researchers in growing individual carbon nanotubes directly between pairs of electrodes formed on a silicon wafer using photolithography. "The resulting nanotubes were 2.5 nanometers in diameter and spanned electrode gaps ranging from 3,000 to 10,000 nanometers." Anticipated applications include use in sensors, electromechanical transducers, and high frequency mechanical resonators. The research was published in the July 29, 2002 issue of Applied Physics Letters.

IBM’s ‘Millipede’ Project

Posted by RichardTerra on June 19th, 2002

Gina Miller writes "IBM reported using MEMS/NEMS technology to achieve a data storage density of a trillion bits per square inch. The research project, code-named "Millipede," uses an array of 1024 (32 x 32) silicon cantilever AFM tips in a 3-mm square to make indentations 10 nm in diameter in a thin polymer film. Bits are written by heating the cantilever to 400 C, which softens the polymer film, and read at 300 C, where the polymer is not soft. Data is erased by using the tip to surround the data pit with a series of overlapping pits that fill in the old pit. The authors achieved more than 100,000 write/overwrite cycles to demonstrate this capability. They are currently using electronics that achieve kilobit-per-second data rates with individual tips, but expect to do much better with better electronics. A technical report on the Millipede project published in the June 2002 inaugural issue of IEEE Transactions on Nanotechnology can be downloaded from the IBM page. Soooo, the big question for nanodot readers, could this AFM array be useful for molecular manufacturing?"

carbon nanotubes as field emitters with MEMS

Posted by RichardTerra on May 21st, 2002

Brian Wang writes of news about "carbon nanotube as field emitters

The original paper is described in this abstract in Applied Physics Letters: ON-CHIP VACUUM MICROTRIODE. Integrated, solid-state design had many advantages over the old vacuum-tube style electronics. But some of the tube characteristics, such as the ability to handle high power, might be nice to have on a chip. With carbon nanotubes, acting as miniature emitters of electrons, this might be possible (See Update 454, 4-2.htm). A new innovation in this regard is the development of an on-chip system of vacuum triodes. Scientists at Agere Systems (a company spun off from Lucent Technologies) build their chip using microelectromechanical (MEMS) technology; a lateral field of carbon nanotubes is grown on a cathode which can then be rotated into a vertical position in order to face a grid (10 microns away) and anode (100 microns away). Radar, electronic warfare, and satellite communications are expected to be the chief applications areas. (Bower et al., Applied Physics Letters, 20 May 2002)"

Confocal microscope allows imaging 3D imaging of cellular structures

Posted by RichardTerra on March 22nd, 2002

Gina Miller writes "Luke P. Lee, assistant professor of bioengineering at UC Berkeley, and his doctoral student Sunghoon Kwon have developed a miniature microlens and scanner that can see inside of a cell. "You could put this device on the tip of an endoscope that could be guided inside a cancer patient," said Lee. "Doctors could then see how tumor cells behave in vivo. It would also be feasible to deliver drugs directly to the tumor cell, and then view how the cell responds to the drugs." See the Berkeley Campus news site (3/13/02): 3/13_micro.html"

eru writes "[The] press release from UC Berkeley details a proof-of-concept experiment wherein UC Berkeley professor Luke Lee successfully imaged (in 2-D) a lily's cell wall using a combination microlens and scanner, two devices which Lee has stated that he plans to incorporate into a fully miniaturized 3-D microscope in the future."

And Mr_Farlops points to additonal coverage in which "Science Daily reports that researchers at UC Berkeley have built a working array of confocal optical scanners, each one millimeter in size, built with photolithography methods. They plan to build even smaller devices and imagine uses in materials science, microscopic medical robots, cytology and microbiological research. Obviously such devices acting as the eyes of microscopic medical robots will revolutionize medicine even before nanoscopic cell repair robots arrive. I also personally find it significant that the article notes that this development is funded by, in part, by DARPA."

Read more for a longer post in this item from Brian Wang.

More interesting items from MEMS 2002 Conference

Posted by RichardTerra on January 28th, 2002

Following up on a previous Nanodot post (22 January 2002), here are a few additional items of interest to emerge from the MEMS 2002 Conference co-sponsored by the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) and the Robotics and Automation Society, and held 20-24 January 2002 in Las Vegas, Nevada:

Many of these UPI stories, as well as much original coverage of the conference, appeared on the Small Times website.

Explosive silicon in MEMS?

Posted by RichardTerra on January 28th, 2002

Mr_Farlops writes "Serendipity struck for chemists at the University of California, San Diego, after a chip of porous silicon, laced with gadolinium nitrate, exploded after being scratched. An article in the EE Times describes the nature of this discovery and speculates about the possible uses of the substance in microscopic rockets and explosive charges. It also sets the mind daydreaming about tiny fuses made of nested nanotubes filled with fuel and oxidizers."

MEMS 2002 Conference also looks at nanoscale devices

Posted by RichardTerra on January 22nd, 2002

Amid the conference focused on microdevices, some interesting nanotech-related news emerged from the MEMS 2002 Conference co-sponsored by the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) and the Robotics and Automation Society, and held 20-24 January 2002 in Las Vegas, Nevada. A good general overview of the conference appeared on the Small Times website ("Record numbers at MEMS conference", by Jane Fried, 22 January 2002). Some of the highlights include:

  • United Press International filed an interesting report ("Molecular motors could help research", by Scott R. Burnell, 21 January 2002) on an address by invited speaker Carlo Montemagno, a professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering at the University of California, Los Angeles and a staff researcher at the California NanoSystems Institute, described the motors and other microscopic devices to a conference on microelectromechanical systems or MEMS. The article is reposted on the Small Times site. "We've just started a project looking at … having small sensors locomote themselves where you want them to go," Montemagno said.
    An interesting point raised in the UPI article was raised by Marlene Bourne, a technology research analyst, who said the biggest hurdle will be moving the devices to clinical applications. "If you start talking about machines in people's bodies, we're getting to the point where there will be some real questions about educating the public," Bourne told UPI. "(Another question is) do we need regulation in terms of how these (motors) will be used, for what purpose, and who gets to benefit from it?" Other roadblocks include working with the motors in a real-world environment, Montemagno said. They currently are limited to water-based solutions. Once the questions are resolved, however, the devices could reach the point of delivering chemotherapy drugs directly to cancer cells, Bourne said.
  • Another UPI report ("Micro pump works without moving parts ", by Scott R. Burnell, 21 January 2002) describes work by Michael DeBar, a scientist with Eastman Kodak in Rochester, N.Y., who developed the idea of a "thermocapillary pump" while at the University of California at Berkeley. The article also is reposted on the Small Times site.

Sandia creates MEMS device to catch blood cells

Posted by RichardTerra on August 30th, 2001

from the getting-cute-with-PR dept.
The press accounts indicate that a lot of people are just ga-ga over the silicon micro-device developed at Sandia National Labs. Described as a "Pac-Man-like microstructure" and the "gobbler", the device has silicon microteeth that open and close like jaws. The microjaws fit in a microchannel about one-third the width of a human hair (about 20 microns wide). When the jaws close, they trap a red blood cell. According to a Sandia press release on 20 August 2001, "The jaws, which open and close very rapidly, deform captured cells, and then, in less than the blink of an eye and almost playfully, let the little things loose. The blood cells travel on, regain their former shape and appear unharmed." [Playfully?]
Additional coverage can be found in this article from UPI. And Robert Trombatore writes: "A news item on the Scientific American web site details a just announced microdevice that can grab individual red blood cells flowing through a central channel. So far no practical uses, but the article mentions a few intriguing possibilities!"

Smart Sensor “Dust”

Posted by RichardTerra on May 29th, 2001

TanMauWu writes "Wired has a story about "smart dust" that researchers at UC Berkeley have developed, which are essentially tiny light and temperature sensors that can network together. The suggested use for these sensors is to put lots of them in every room in a building and tie them all to a main computer that can regulate energy usage in the building to save energy. Of course, we can all think of *other* possible uses for this, can't we? Not quite true utility fog, but we're getting there."

The Future of MEMS is NEMS

Posted by RichardTerra on March 26th, 2001

from the Big-bugs-have-little-bugs dept.
Waldemar Perez calls our attention to an article on NanoElectroMechanical Systems (NEMS) in Technology Review Magazine ("NEMS: Machines Get Tiny," by David Voss, April 2001). In his opinion, Mr. Perez writes, "NEMS research promises to give us machines on the nanometer scale, [but this is] exactly there were critics argue Brownian motion will destroy them or make these machines unworkable and unreliable . . . these first generation NEMS prototypes will suffer from high wear (a well known problem on MEMS) until we can incorporate into them Drexler-type nanobearings and other devices."

Casimir force used by MEMS, will affect nanotech

Posted by Christine Peterson on February 15th, 2001

from the top-down-pathway dept.
ScienceExpress, an online preprint service (login req'd) of Science magazine, published on Feb. 8 a report from Bell Labs/Lucent that MEMS can exploit the Casimir force. Coauthor Federico Capasso was quoted in the Feb. 10 Science News: "Capasso speculates that makers of MEMS and even tinier nanoelectromechanical systems may find ways to harness the Casimir force in 5 to 15 years…the experiment also indicates that the Casimir effect may become problematic for designers of tiny machines, says Paul J. McWhorter of MEMX…" CP: What's problematic to some may be a fun challenge to others — anyone care to give their view on this? Read more for the abstract.

Very Large Scale Integration for MEMS

Posted by BryanBruns on February 8th, 2001

from the thousands-of-steps-will-get-somewhere dept.
SteveLenhert writes "Integration of basic MEMS components is bridging the gap between micro- and nanotechnology. Very Large Scale Integration (VLSI) of basic electronic components such as diodes and transistors is well established. This article on Mechanical VLSI describes approaches to (and implications of) VLSI of mechanical components such as actuators and cantilevers.

NEMS history and challenges

Posted by BryanBruns on February 8th, 2001

from the take-it-from-the-top-down dept.
Waldemar Perez writes "This is one of the most interesting articles I have found on NEMS. It was published in Physics World magazine and talks about some early NEMS working prototypes and the challenges facing NEMS.

Exponential assembly at Zyvex

Posted by Christine Peterson on January 12th, 2001

from the manufacturing-architectures dept.
Some Fat Guy writes "There is an interesting paper and Real Video animations on Exponential Assembly here: The devices described are MEMS devices, but the concept scales down." CP: A more formal journal article from the Foresight Conference is linked to at the end.

Smart Dust-Spies in the Sky from UC Berkeley

Posted by Christine Peterson on November 21st, 2000

from the he-knows-if-you've-been-bad-or-good dept.
EddieWehri brings our attention to an article in the San Francisco Chronicle: "Yep, yet one more SF concept from books like The Diamond Age make it into prime time. MEMS science is producing dust sized surveillence devices that are lighter than air and float around collecting data and reporting back to the mother base." Excerpt: "Each mote contains a solar cell to generate power, sensors that can be programmed to look for specific information, a tiny computer that can store the information and sort out which data is worth reporting, and a communicator that enables the mote to be 'interrogated' by the base unit…'This is a technology of total surveillance' "

MEMS news site based on Slash software

Posted by Christine Peterson on November 21st, 2000

from the MEMSdot dept.
For the MEMS (MicroElectroMechanical Systems) fans among us, Jonathan Desp brings to our attention MEMS Center, a new MEMS portal based, as is Nanodot, on the Slash news-and-discussion software. Read More for his full post.