A team of ambitious researchers from Tel Aviv University is hoping to optimize its microelectromechanical systems (MEMS) sensing technology to be 100 times more sensitive than current products. The sensors rely on carbon nanotubes to detect minuscule changes on the atomic level, according to the team. Using methane gas and a furnace to produce the carbon nanotubes, the researchers then created a simple and cost-effective technique in which the tiny tubes arrange themselves on a silicon chip. "Small deformities in the crystal structure of the tubes register a change in the movement of the nano object, and deliver the amplitude of the movement through an electrical impulse," according to the university. This MEMS sensing technology is potentially suited for a range of applications, including use on prosthetic limbs to enhance functionality. "The main challenge facing the industry today is to make these basic sensors a lot more sensitive, to recognize minute changes in motion and position," says Yael Hanein, a professor involved in the development of the technology. Stay tuned for more information on MEMS in medical device applications in an upcoming Tech Update on MEMS in the May issue of MPMN.
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