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Microelectromechanical reciprocating-tooth indexing apparatus

United States Patent

5,959,376
September 28, 1999
View the Complete Patent at the US Patent & Trademark Office
Sandia National Laboratories - Visit the Intellectual Property Management and Licensing Website
An indexing apparatus is disclosed that can be used to rotate a gear or move a rack in a precise, controllable manner. The indexing apparatus, based on a reciprocating shuttle driven by one or more actuators, can be formed either as a micromachine, or as a millimachine. The reciprocating shuttle of the indexing apparatus can be driven by a thermal, electrostatic or electromagnetic actuator, with one or more wedge-shaped drive teeth of the shuttle being moveable to engage and slide against indexing teeth on the gear or rack, thereby moving the gear or rack. The indexing apparatus can be formed by either surface micromachining processes or LIGA processes, depending on the size of the apparatus that is to be formed.
Allen; James J. (Albuquerque, NM)
Sandia Corporation (Albuquerque, NM)
09/ 150,873
September 10, 1998
GOVERNMENT RIGHTS This invention was made with Government support under Contract No. DE-AC04-94AL85000 awarded by the U.S. Department of Energy. The Government has certain rights in the invention.