CMU professorial oversight was provided by Maarten de Boer.
The student contest, open to institutional members of the Sandia-led MEMS University Alliance program, provides an arena for the nation's student engineers to hone their skills in designing and using microdevices. Such devices are used to probe biological cells, arrange and operate components of telecommunications and high-tech machinery, operate many home devices and strengthen national security.
Scanning electron microscope of Texas Tech student-designed micro-dragonfly. (Image courtesy of Texas Tech University) Click on the thumbnail for a high-resolution image.
The MEMS University Alliance is part of Sandia's outreach to universities to improve engineering education. It is open to any US institution of higher learning, and most recently has extended an invitation to select Mexican universities to help that country develop its technological base.
The alliance provides classroom teaching materials and licenses for Sandia's special SUMMiT V design tools at a reasonable cost, so universities that lack fabrication facilities can develop a curriculum in MEMS. The design competition is growing within the University Alliance, which now has more than 20 members.
The entire contest process takes almost nine months. It starts with students developing ideas for a device, followed by creation of an accurate computer model of a design that might work, analysis of the design and, finally, design submission. Sandia's MEMS experts and university professors review the design and determine the winners.
Sandia's state-of-the-art MESA fabrication facility then creates parts for each of the entrants. The design competition capitalizes on Sandia's confidence in achieving first-pass fabrication success, which restricts the entire process to a reasonable student timeframe.<
|Contact: neal singer|
DOE/Sandia National Laboratories