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Innovation Could Bring Super-Accurate Sensors, Crime Forensics

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self-calibrating microelectromechanical system

The self-calibrating MEMS developed at Purdue University could make possible super-accurate sensors such as a "nose-on-a-chip" for law enforcement and a new class of lab tools for nanotechnology and biotechnology specialists.

Credit: Jason Vaughn Clark / Purdue University

Purdue University researchers have developed technology that enables micro electromechanical systems (MEMS) to self-calibrate, which they say could lead to super-accurate sensors for crime-scene investigators, environmental testing, and medical diagnostics. The technology also might enable researchers to create a "nose-on-a-chip" for tracking criminal suspects, sensors for identifying hazardous substances, as well as a new class of laboratory tools for use in nanotechnology and biotechnology.

Electro micro metrology, developed by Purdue professor Jason Vaughn Clark, enables engineers to account for process variations by determining the precise movement and force that is being applied to a MEMS device. "Our MEMS are able to determine their unique mechanical performance properties," Clark says. Self-calibration is needed for devices that might be exposed to harsh environments or remain dormant for long periods of time.

The researchers also will use the technology to improve the accuracy of atomic force microscopes.

From Purdue University
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