HUBERT RAGUET / EURELIOS / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY HUBERT RAGUET / EURELIOS / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Microelectromechanical device, coloured scanning electron micrograph (SEM). This is a sensor gauge that moves along the scale at top, from which a reading is taken. MEMS (microelectromechanical systems) are mechanical and electrical devices constructed on a microscopic scale. They often look like their larger-scale counterparts, but need to be designed differently due to surface effects (electrostatics and wetting) dominating volume effects (inertia and thermal properties). Applications include microscopic sensors and optical display technologies. Materials used to construct MEMS devices include silicon (as here) and also polymers such as plastics.
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