Tools Briefs

New electrically powered microscopic motors, no larger than the width of a human hair, have potential applications in the next few years in both medical and microsurgical equipment and scientific instruments. Bell Labs and the University of California, Berkeley, reported on the new process at the same time, but Berkeley holds a patent on the process, which uses the techniques and materials of semiconductor manufacturing. The rotor in the motor is about two-thousandths of an inch in diameter. Its

The Scientist Staff
Sep 18, 1988
New electrically powered microscopic motors, no larger than the width of a human hair, have potential applications in the next few years in both medical and microsurgical equipment and scientific instruments. Bell Labs and the University of California, Berkeley, reported on the new process at the same time, but Berkeley holds a patent on the process, which uses the techniques and materials of semiconductor manufacturing. The rotor in the motor is about two-thousandths of an inch in diameter. Its teeth, or rotor poles, an each about the size of a red blood cell. The whole motor is about three-thousandths of an inch across. Integrated with microelectronics, micromachines could be employed as miniature assembly-line tools, or as new instruments for intricate surgery and delicate laboratory manipulation. Says developer Richard S. Muller professor of electrical engineering and computer sciences at Berkeley, "Today's microprocessors provide silicon 'brainpower.' The coming revolution will couple these...

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