Microsystems are miniature devices constructed from elements of micro-scale dimensions. In our lab we investigate systems which are predominantly made of silicon. Since axes and sliders are impractical at the micro-scale, relative motion between different elements is enabled by flexure (flexible slender beams). Flexures constrain motions to specific preferred directions, and also serve as elastic springs. Microsystems are sculptured from a single crystal of silicon by selective chemical or physical etching, using the same technology that is used to fabricate microelectronics.
The motors which drive different elements in microsystems are electrostatic, thermoelastic, piezoelectric and electromagnetic actuators. The physics that governs microsystems is the same as in macro systems, but in the micro-scale different physical effects dominate. For instance, self sagging due to gravity is entirely negligible, small silicon beams are stronger than if they were made of steel, and electrostatic forces (not electromagnetic) are sufficiently strong to induce motion.
In our lab we investigate different effects at the micro-scale and also invent and develop novel devices.