Researchers develop revolutionary technology for manufacturing micro-scale devices

Dec 22, 2009

(PhysOrg.com) -- Cranfield University has developed new technology that could significantly reduce the manufacturing costs of complex devices such as electronic noses that sniff out explosives and dangerous chemicals and gadgets that can diagnose disease.

Cranfield University has developed new technology that could significantly reduce the manufacturing costs of complex devices such as electronic noses that sniff out explosives and dangerous chemicals and gadgets that can diagnose disease.

The project, part of a €3.2million research consortium entitled Q2M (Quality to Micro) supported by the European Union, addressed some of the key issues with existing micro-fabrication processes which are limited by the conflicting requirements of different materials.

"Standard micro-fabrication techniques are often incompatible with other high quality materials. This is one of the major bottlenecks for the development of novel micro-scale systems. The new technology will bring down the cost of genuinely new systems considerably," said Stephen Wilson, Senior Research Fellow in Microsystems Technology at Cranfield University.

The new methods can be used in the manufacture of a myriad of components and systems ranging in size from a few millimetres to a few 100s of nanometres. Applications include newly emerging technologies for personal healthcare such as biomedical devices that can diagnose disease and electronically administer drugs and environmental control systems for personal healthcare. The technology also has the potential to open up new applications in communications as it offers the ability to incorporate previously incompatible non-silicon materials into radio-frequency circuits, thereby enhancing performance and capability.

In the same project Dr Paul Kirby collaborating with the IBM Research Centre in Zurich and the research establishment VTT in Finland, demonstrated that a 1 micron thick layer of piezoelectric material could be incorporated into radio-frequency micro-switches such as those found in mobile phone systems.

Dr Kirby said: "This is a significant achievement that could open up new application areas in high-speed telecommunications."

The Q2M Consortium, a three year Strategically Targeted Research Project (STREP) supported under the European Union 6th Framework project, comprised 12 academic partners and industrial companies engaged in technology development. The group also included a number of technology end-users to ensure the work addressed real industrial needs. The technologies developed through Q2M have subsequently been used to produce micro-valves, micro-mirror arrays and radio frequency (RF) micro-components.

Explore further: Switzerland to test drone postal deliveries

Related Stories

Diamond technology to revolutionize mobile communications

Aug 07, 2006

The U. S. Department of Energy's Argonne National Laboratory has teamed with industrial and academic partners under a DARPA Phase II research and development program to develop a new technology based on Ultrananocrystalline ...

New X-ray microscope for science and industry

Jul 03, 2006

Australian researchers have taken X-ray technology to a new level, developing and using high-powered microscopes to see inside objects and capture high-resolution images of their subsurface structures.

Microwavable chips for wireless communication

Aug 17, 2005

A recent EU project designed and developed a new demonstrator microchip that will dramatically cut the cost of producing new wireless products and could mean that a whole range of existing products will be enabled for wireless ...

Modern ceramics help advance technology

May 08, 2008

Many important electronic devices used by people today would be impossible without the use of ceramics. A new study published in the Journal of the American Ceramic Society illustrates the use of ceramic materials in the ...

Recommended for you

Intellectual property in 3D printing

Apr 16, 2015

The implications of intellectual property in 3D printing have been outlined in two documents created for the UK government by Bournemouth University's Dinusha Mendis and Davide Secchi, and Phil Reeves of Econolyst Ltd.

World-record electric motor for aircraft

Apr 16, 2015

Siemens researchers have developed a new type of electric motor that, with a weight of just 50 kilograms, delivers a continuous output of about 260 kilowatts – five times more than comparable drive systems. ...

Space open for business, says Electron launch system CEO

Apr 15, 2015

Space, like business, is all about time and money, said Peter Beck, CEO of Rocket Lab, a US company with a New Zealand subsidiary. The problem, he added, is that, in cost and time, space has remained an incredibly ...

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.