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.
Design collaboration now includes the entire value chain. From suppliers to customers, purchasing to outside experts, the collaborative design team includes internal and external groups. The design process now stretches across the globe in multiple software formats.
A new high-pressure injection-molding technology produces near-net shape parts with 2-inch-thick walls from high-performance materials like PEEK, PAI, and carbon-filled polymers. Parts show no voids, sinks, or porosity, have more consistent mechanical properties, and are stronger.
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