Students Build a Nano-Clock That Fits on a Pinhead

 
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PostPosted: Tue Jun 20, 2006 11:47 am    Post subject: Students Build a Nano-Clock That Fits on a Pinhead Reply with quote

Students at Texas Tech University Build a Nano-Clock That Fits on a Pinhead.


Think your wristwatch is compact? Try beating this: Dr. Tim Dallas and his team of Texas Tech University nanotechnology students have created a clock so small that it can keep time on the head of a pin.

Granted, people shouldn't flock to replace their Seikos just yet - the heavy dose of electricity required to turn the tiny hands forces the clock to run fast. Plus, Dallas warns, the smallest bit of dust could clog its gears for, well, eternity.

Still, this proof-of-concept design was enough to grab the attention of Sandia National Laboratories during its 2005 microelectromechanical systems, or MEMS, design competition. The winning designs were built in Sandia's laboratories and returned to the universities for testing. Dallas, so far, has tested five of the 50 clocks built by the labs.

Texas Tech's team of students from the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, led by Phillip Beverly and advised by associate professor Dallas, didn't allow the small scale to hamper style: the clock included Texas Tech's iconic Double "T" and a gloved hand giving the university's "guns up" sign.

In addition to the two-millimeter-square clock, the entry included a miniature bicycle chain, a dynamic two-axis scanner and two types of mirrors. All five devices were built on a three-by-six-millimeter chip. A penny, with a 19-millimeter diameter, seems whopping by comparison.

MEMS devices allow development of smaller, higher performance systems with improved applications. They are used in devices such as pressure sensors, air bag sensors, projection televisions and biomedical devices.

Source: Texas Tech University.


This story dates from 24th April 2006
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