Building MEMS with Nanoparticles


MEMS have been built by patterning nanoparticle colloids of metals, insulators, and release materials. Nanoparticle colloids permit greater solubility and far-suppressed melting temperature compared to the bulk material, which allows liquid to be "printed" on plastic substrates and then sintered at plastic-compatible temperatures to form fully functional devices. Using two patterning techniques, ink-jet deposition and liquid embossing, we have created thermal actuators (heatuators), linear and rotary electrostatic motors, and mechanical test structures with characteristic feature sizes ranging from 200 nm to 20 mm.