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Microengines

Close-up of Drive Gear Hub

A pin joint connects the drive arm to a rotating gear.

Grain of Pollen and Red Blood Cells

Drive gear chain and linkages, with a grain of pollen (top right) and coagulated red blood cells (lower right, top left) to demonstrate scale.

Two-layer Springs

Two-layer construction of springs provides greater out-of-plane stiffness, reducing stiction. At upper left, a travel stop limits lateral range of motion of spring.

19-tooth Gear, and Linkage Arms of the Microengine

Meshed Gears

A microengine gear meshes with another gear.

Retaining Clips

A drive gear rotates the large gear. Clips keep the large gear in-plane.

Gear Tooth Close-up

Close-up view of a gear tooth of a microengine.

Drive Gear Side View

Side view of a microengine drive gear meshed with another gear.

Drive Gear, Pin Joint, and Hub

A microengine drive gear, pin joint, and hub are all seen from the linkage arm side, illustrating just how they fit together.

Drive Gears

This drive gear rotates a gear that is about ten times larger in diameter.

Microengine

This view of the microengine includes the drive arms, the pin joint and the drive gear.

Meshed Gears Close-up

A drive gear meshed with another gear, close-up view.

Air-Cushioned Gear

The spiral grooves in this drive gear channel air to the center of the gear; the air then provides a cushion.

Comb Drives

Comb drives of a 3-layer polysilicon microengine are shown here. The springs in the center provide the restoring force, returning the electrostatic comb teeth to their original position.

Travel Stop

This small component is a travel stop, used to limit the lateral displacement of the comb springs.

Comb Drive Springs Close-up

This is an extreme close-up of the comb drive springs. An interconnect between layers is included in this view.

Comb Drive Springs

In this view of the comb springs, the interconnect is visible.

Comb Drive Springs

This view of the corner of comb drive springs shows that springs fabricated in the 5-layer surface micromachining process have an additional structural layer.

Travel Stops and Comb Springs

Travel stops and comb springs of a device fabricated in the 5-layer process are shown here.

Comb Drives and Springs

Although fabricated in the 5-layer process, the resulting structures are not far off the wafer substrate. Powerful magnification is necessary to see these comb drives and springs.

Pin Attachment Point

The pin connects to the drive gear of the microengine at just one point. The rest of the linkage hovers over the gear, allowing it to move freely.

Flex Joint

A flex joint is shown attached to a drive gear. Flex links develop little friction because they are devoid of moving parts.

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