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Short, sharp shocks build micromachines

发布时间:2019-03-08 08:13:07来源:未知点击:

By Duncan Graham-Rowe TINY devices could be assembled using a technique originally developed for positioning samples under an electron microscope, say Swiss researchers. They have developed a device that uses vibrations to move tiny components. In one experiment, they successfully inserted the rotor of an electric motor into its housing—with a clearance of just two micrometres. Jean-Marc Breguet of the Robotic Systems Institute at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, Lausanne says the principle is simple: short, sharp voltage spikes are applied to a piezoelectric ceramic. This makes the ceramic vibrate in one plane. Each time the ceramic moves, the frictional forces between it and a part—in this case a rotor placed on top of it—causes the part to slip in one direction and stick in the other. The net effect is that the part moves in one direction. Its displacement can be precisely controlled by changing the voltage. Breguet says the device can move parts with an accuracy of 1 nanometre. He believes greater precision is possible, but so far his department does not have the measuring devices to show just how much more accurate it can be. His team thinks such micromanipulators could be useful for aligning microchip manufacturing masks and for checking circuits,