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Chapter 1:
Micromachining and Trends for the Twenty-First Century
Editor(s): Prosenjit Rai-Choudhury
Author(s): Rai-Choudhury, Prosenjit; McWhorter, Paul J.; Frazier, A. Bruno, Georgia Institute of Technology
Imagine a machine so small that it is imperceptible to the human eye. Imagine working machines with gears no bigger than a grain of pollen, dwarfed in size by a microscopic dust mite (Fig. 1.1). Imagine these machines being batch fabricated tens of thousand at a time, at a cost that begins to approach zero. Imagine a realm where the world of design is turned upside down, and the seemingly impossible suddenly becomes easy—a place where gravity and inertia are no longer important, but the effects of atomic forces and surface science dominate. Welcome to the microdomain, a world now occupied by an explosive new technology known as MEMS (MicroElectroMechanical Systems) or, more simply, micromachines.
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