Originally Published MPMN
Originally Published MPMNMay 2003
INDUSTRY NEWSManufacturer Etches MEMS Components from Nickel
|Produced under cleanroom conditions, Tecan Components Ltd. offers nickel MEMS components with apertures and fluid channels as small as 1 µm.|
Combining experience gained from working with semiconductors, compact discs, and holograms,
Tecan Components Ltd. (Weymouth, UK; www.tecan.co.uk)
has developed a photochemical etching process to produce microelectromechanical systems (MEMS) components from nickel. In the past, such components have been manufactured from silicon, a material that can be both expensive and brittle. By using nickel, the Tecan process overcomes these inherent shortcomings, offering a finished product that may be more cost-efficient and offer increased mechanical strength, electrical conductivity, and corrosion resistance.
Produced at a new 8000-sq-ft facility, the nickel components can be designed with apertures, fluid channels, and other features as small as 1 µm in size. Customizable to individual requirements, the parts can also be manufactured with surface finishes as smooth as 600 nm and raised areas of a maximum aspect ratio of 5:1. And while the company has no figures on the smallest part the technology can be used to produce, it says that surface areas of up to 144 sq in. can be achieved for non-MEMS applications.
With this list of features, Tecan Components estimates that its nickel components will find numerous applications in the medical, optical, and electronics industries. In the medical MEMS arena, such applications could include sensors, actuators, hearing aids, microlenses, meshes, masks, displays, and microfluidic devices.
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