"Today's MEMs designers face a difficult design hurdle: Combining fabrication process information with 2D-mask geometry for creating 3D structures," says Victor Yarberry, principal member of Sandia National Lab's technical staff. "The fundamental problem is that a 2D mask does not reveal the true 3D structure." For addressing this problem, the Lab's scientists created SUMMiT (Sandia Ultra-Planar Multilevel MEMS technology) software. Sandia is making the software's source code available. The software's 3D model generator applies fabrication steps to 2D masks for creating a solid model. "Currently, there are no commercial tools that can model the entire SUMMiT process, which includes a wet undercut etch followed by a conformal deposition," says Yarberry. The new code uses algorithms for providing representations of conformal depositions on the underside surface. "These steps allow creation of important mechanical features, such as gear hubs and hinge points by the designer," he says. He notes that MEMs devices are being designed into computer disk drives, optical communication switching devices, and accelerometers for automotive air bags. For more information, send inquiries to Sandia National Labs, Box 5800, Albuquerque, NM 87109.
Using wireless chips and accessories, engineers can now extract data from the unlikeliest of places -- pumps, motors, bridges, conveyors, refineries, cooling towers, parking garages, down-hole drills and just about anything else that can benefit from monitoring.
With strong marketplace demand for qualified engineers across the board that currently outstrips the available supply, there may never be a better time for engineers and project managers to advance their careers and salaries. Whether those moves are successful in the short-term and long-term is likely to depend on how the transition from one job to the next is handled.
Focus on Fundamentals consists of 45-minute on-line classes that cover a host of technologies. You learn without leaving the comfort of your desk. All classes are taught by subject-matter experts and all are archived. So if you can't attend live, attend at your convenience.