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Now: MEMS is nanotechnology?

from the that's-different dept.
Oldtimers among you will recall when nanotechnology was anathema to the MEMS community, who viewed it as science fiction. Now nanotech is such a (fundable) buzzword that MEMS is being repositioned as nanotechnology by "Trends in Nanotechnology", based in Europe. Elsewhere in the issue appears this: "We're going to make just one prediction, which is that the use of the word nanotechnology will see explosive growth in the coming year. Unfortunately, most of this growth is likely to represent bandwagon-jumping." Ironic, yes? Read More for the repositioning quote. From the free "Trends in Nanotechnology" email newsletter (featured on nanodot previously), Jan 4, 2001: "Red Herring points out in a somewhat narrowly-focussed article on microelectromechanical systems (MEMS) ( that MEMS aren't nanotechnology. Although this is true in the very strictest sense, MEMS is evolving towards NEMS in many areas and existing MEMS can serve as nanoscale sensors and actuators, so we beg to differ."

CP: C'mon folks, there's a huge difference in scale between micro and nano. Let's try to keep these two valuable technologies distinctly named so we can speak coherently about their interactions.

2 Responses to “Now: MEMS is nanotechnology?”

  1. vik Says:

    Mems/Nems Crossover

    [Note: Nems/Mems should be in caps, but the Nanodot posting "lameness filter" is dumb enough to think that acronyms are 'shouting' in caps.]

    The two fields are separate, but will join. Either as Mems get to be more precise, as Mems get used as an anchoring point for Nems, or as Nems get sufficiently sophisticated to build Mems. Any way you look at it, the future of Mems and Nems is inextricably linked.

    As an example, take IBM's "Millipede" AFM array. Currently this is a storage device using an array of 1024 Mems-fabricated AFM tips to create 50nm storage features on a polymer substrate.

    As Mems AFM arrays get more precise, they will manipulate on the nanometer scale. Are they now Mems or Nems?

    Once Nems can build up, micrometer scale devices such as artificial blood cells will be built. Are these "respirocytes" now Mems or Nems?

    One thing that even people who are aware of nanotechnology will have to get used to is the concept that there is a flow of design from the nanoscale to the macroscale. To design a truly efficient product, a nanotechnology designer will have to be able to smoothly shift their mental gear from the nanoscale to the macroscale and all stages between. A holisitc view is needed.

    Vik :v)

  2. G-Man Says:

    Re:Mems/Nems Crossover

    There are many fundemental differences between NEMS and MEMS, MEMS tools and objects are made by lithography (whatever type you choose), basically still just chipping away bulk material to carve out useful tools. NEMS could not be done that way, at the Nanometer level the tools and objects would be created by assembly of atom's and molecules. So in other words true Nanotechnology could only be from bottom up technology. G-Man

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