Skip to main content

Micromachines

Optical Shutter Device

(Image credit: Courtesy Sandia National Laboratories, SUMMiTTM Technologies, www.mems.sandia.gov)

In this image are the comb drive motors, linkage mechanisms, and the large optical shutter. Because of the guide rails, the shutter can be rotated at very high speeds.

Triple-Piston Microsteam Engine

(Image credit: Courtesy Sandia National Laboratories, SUMMiTTM Technologies, www.mems.sandia.gov)

Water inside of three compression cylinders is heated by electric current and vaporizes, pushing the piston out. Capillary forces then retract the piston once current is removed.

The Torsional Ratcheting Actuator (TRA)

(Image credit: Courtesy Sandia National Laboratories, SUMMiTTM Technologies, www.mems.sandia.gov)

The TRA uses a rotationally vibrating (oscillating) inner frame to ratchet its surrounding ring gear. Charging and discharging the inner interdigitated comb fingers causes this vibration.

Angle View of the Torsional Ratcheting Actuator (TRA)

(Image credit: Courtesy Sandia National Laboratories, SUMMiTTM Technologies, www.mems.sandia.gov)

Visible in this image: the outer ring gear along with (front to back): a pointer that indicates the degrees of oscillation of the inner frame, the electrical interconnect that supplies power to the engine, and a clip that holds the ring in place.