MEMS (microelectromechanical systems) have the versatility to solve specialized problems, and the demonstration of that versatility continues at Sandia National Laboratories. Researchers there have devised an advanced gas-sampling procedure using picoliters of gas to check whether the atmosphere inside a MEMS device is pure.
A small commercial valve crushes a tiny object—the MEMS chip under investigation—and feeds the released gases to a custom-built intake manifold. Because the test mechanism requires only picoliters of gas, it can re-evaluate dozens of times, using bursts of puffs of gas that it receives. This repetition increases the final test's validity due to the repeated sampling and testing during a 20-minute period, compared with the uncertain validity of a single test and result.
Although plastics make up only about 11% of all US municipal solid waste, many are actually more energy-dense than coal. Converting these non-recycled plastics into energy with existing technologies could reduce US coal consumption, as well as boost domestic energy reserves, says a new study.
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