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Proceedings Paper • Open Access

An analysis of microsystems development at Sandia National Laboratories
Author(s): Gilbert V. Herrera; David R. Myers

Paper Abstract

While Sandia initially was motivated to investigate emergent microsystem technology to miniaturize existing macroscale structures, present designs embody innovative approaches that directly exploit the fundamentally different material properties of a new technology at the micro- and nano-scale. Direct, hands-on experience with the emerging technology gave Sandia engineers insights that not only guided the evolution of the technology but also enabled them to address new applications that enlarged the customer base for the new technology. Sandia's early commitment to develop complex microsystems demonstrated the advantages that early adopters gain by developing an extensive design and process tool kit and a shared awareness of multiple approaches to achieve the multiple goals. As with any emergent technology, Sandia's program benefited from interactions with the larger technical community. However, custom development followed a spiral path of direct trial-and-error experience, analysis, quantification of materials properties at the micro- and nano-scale, evolution of design tools and process recipes, and an understanding of reliability factors and failure mechanisms even in extreme environments. The microsystems capability at Sandia relied on three key elements. The first was people: a mix of mechanical and semiconductor engineers, chemists, physical scientists, designers, and numerical analysts. The second was a unique facility that enabled the development of custom technologies without contaminating mainline product deliveries. The third was the arrival of specialized equipment as part of a Cooperative Research And Development Agreement (CRADA) enabled by the National Competitiveness Technology Transfer Act of 1989. Underpinning all these, the program was guided and sustained through the research and development phases by accomplishing intermediate milestones addressing direct mission needs.

Paper Details

Date Published: 13 May 2011
PDF: 13 pages
Proc. SPIE 8031, Micro- and Nanotechnology Sensors, Systems, and Applications III, 80311E (13 May 2011); doi: 10.1117/12.884539
Show Author Affiliations
Gilbert V. Herrera, Sandia National Labs. (United States)
David R. Myers, Sandia National Labs. (United States)

Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 8031:
Micro- and Nanotechnology Sensors, Systems, and Applications III
Thomas George; M. Saif Islam; Achyut K. Dutta, Editor(s)

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