The 19th-century chain drive remains popular in bicycles, car engines, and industrial machinery. Now, designers at Sandia National Laboratories in Albuquerque, N.M., have reinvented the component at a microscopic scale. Ed Vernon and his colleagues sculpted thin layers of silicon and silicon dioxide to make a chain that moves gears in a system where the links and teeth are the size of biological cells. Such tiny gadgetry might someday operate shutters for tiny cameras, Vernon notes.
George E. Vernon
Sandia National Laboratories
Electromechanical Engineering Department 2614
Albuquerque, NM 87123-0329
2002. Worlds smallest microchain drive fabricated at Sandia. Sandia National Laboratories press release. Jan. 14. Available at [Go to].