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Micro Electro-Mechanical Systems (MEMS)

MEMS devices are mechanical structures that are microfabricated using techniques similar to those used to make integrated circuits. The small scale means these devices have little mass, so they can move quickly. The device shown here is roughly 250 micrometers on a side. This animation was made from stop-action images taken as the device moved at a frequency of about 20 kHz. This device was designed to test common failure modes of MEMS devices. The notch near the center of rotation was designed to fail over time; Measuring the motion of the device as the notch is increasingly damaged leads to a better understanding of the process by which MEMS devices fail. This information can help MEMS designers build devices that are robust against failure.