MEMS and NEMS
Micro-electromechanical systems (MEMS) is a manufacturing technology used for designing and creating tiny integrated devices or systems that combine mechanical and electrical components using batch fabrication techniques. Their size ranges from a few micrometers to millimeters having the ability to sense, control, and actuate on the micro-scale, and generate effects on the macro scale. All mechanical microstructures, microelectronics, microsensors, and microactuators and are integrated onto the same silicon chip in this system. Some of the established applications of MEMS are automotive airbag sensors, medical pressure sensors, and inject printer heads. New and emerging applications associated with MEMS are-
- Effective environmental sensors
- Active traffic management and interactive transportation systems
- Smart grids for lighting and electricity supply
- High spatial/temporal resolution pollution monitoring
- Weather forecasting
Over the past few years, Biomedical or Biological Micro-Electro-Mechanical Systems (BioMEMS) provide incredible applications for the biomedical field such as in the domain of advanced diagnosis, therapy, and tissue engineering strategies. BioMEMS currently play a significant role by supporting major societal issues including DNA sequencing, drug discovery, and water and environmental monitoring.
Nano-electromechanical systems (NEMS) consist of miniaturized electrical and mechanical apparatuses including actuators, beams, sensors, pumps, resonators, and motors. They have critical structural elements that integrate electrical and mechanical functions at the nanoscale. NEMS is used for high-frequency resonators and ultrasensitive sensors by combining smaller mass with higher surface area to volume ratio. They can either be produced by bottom-up, top-down or via combined methods where molecules are integrated into a top-down framework. Carbon in the form of graphene and carbon nanotube is a major material used in current NEMS. However, the challenge in this technology is to develop new methods for routine and reproducible nanofabrication. Nano-electromechanical systems are highly potential and have shown immense growth in the field of robotics, biomedical research, and optoelectronics. NEMS has motivated researchers to study it as it has a wide range of potential applications in nanoelectronic devices which can measure very small masses, weak forces, and ultra-small displacements of atomic positions. Rotary nanomotors have the ability to convert electric energy into nanoscale mechanical motions for nanomachines and nano factories, particularly critical for advancing NEMS technology. Another type of nanomechanical devices known as catalytic motors have emerged that can convert chemical energy to mechanical motions. Most of them have been operated to transport biomolecules, such as proteins or bacteria.
In the biomedical field. an electromechanical device if implanted would protect the drug or biosensor from the body until needed, will be able to totally control drug delivery amount and timing by the physician or patient, and continuous or pulsatile delivery could be accommodated. Biodegradable polymer-based systems compared to microchip-based systems is the elimination of a requirement for a second surgery to remove the device.
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