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Surface-micromachined chain for use in microelectromechanical structures

United States Patent

December 11, 2001
View the Complete Patent at the US Patent & Trademark Office
Sandia National Laboratories - Visit the Intellectual Property Management and Licensing Website
A surface-micromachined chain and a microelectromechanical (MEM) structure incorporating such a chain are disclosed. The surface-micromachined chain can be fabricated in place on a substrate (e.g. a silicon substrate) by depositing and patterning a plurality of alternating layers of a chain-forming material (e.g. polycrystalline silicon) and a sacrificial material (e.g. silicon dioxide or a silicate glass). The sacrificial material is then removed by etching to release the chain for movement. The chain has applications for forming various types of MEM devices which include a microengine (e.g. an electrostatic motor) connected to rotate a drive sprocket, with the surface-micromachined chain being connected between the drive sprocket and one or more driven sprockets.
Vernon, Sr.; George E. (Rio Rancho, NM)
Sandia Corporation (Albuquerque, NM)
09/ 520,643
March 7, 2000
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.