Diamond may be a microelectromechanical system’s best friend.
Tiny MEMs, which can measure just microns across, are showing up as parts of sensors, switches and actuators in products from inkjet printers to car airbags and mobile devices. The miniature machines are shaping up to be a major component in the coming connected world.
The problem is that most MEMs out there right now are made of silicon, a brittle material that quickly wears down when it is being used as a moving part.
We’ve already featured researchers who are looking to get past that major limitation, including one team that is making experimental MEMs out of nickel alloy. Now scientists at several institutions including Argonne National Lab say they may have another option.