To broaden design and use of micromachines:
Sandia licenses its micromachine design tools to Microcosm Technologies Inc.
Albuquerque, N.M. If you wanted to build your own micromachine gear
teeth as small as red blood cells, individual device as big as a grain of pollen
how would you even know what you wanted to draw, let alone write the code?
And where would you get it fabricated?
A licensing agreement between the Department of Energys Sandia National Laboratories and Microcosm
Technologies Inc., should enable inventors and engineers not only to design
micromachines but to ensure their manufacturability and performance before
incurring fabrication costs. (Microcosm is a worldwide provider of
microelectromechanical systems [MEMS] software, among its other services.)
Designs might range from mirror arrays the size of a quarter that route
Internet traffic to prescription drug-dispensing systems that fit on a fingertip.
Sandia maintains a 30,000-square-foot facility (Class 1) for prototype
fabrication of silicon micromachines. The licensing agreement allows Microcosm
to incorporate Sandias design tools into its commercially available software.
The minimum initial cost for a Sandia fabrication run is $10,000.
Says Sandia manager Jay Jakubczak, We are doing this because we are interested in seeing
MEMs technologies inserted into biomedical devices, optical switches, and
certain defense applications. Sandia offers a manufacturable technology
(SUMMiT V), which is available for licensing. Our prototyping capacity can serve
as a product-to-market enabler. Also, we support bridging strategies that
provide for limited product capacity while a company is establishing or
contracting for their own volume production source. Sandia further provides
technical assistance in the transfer of its SUMMiT technology to industry.
Microcosm, he says, brings commercially recognized expertise in design and
simulation of MEMS. So this agreement licensing SUMMiT (Sandia Ultraplanar
Multilevel MEMS Technology) represents a critical piece of the puzzle in the
development of a complete MEMS infrastructure.
This collaboration allows Microcosm to integrate our design capabilities with Sandias in the form of
enhanced commercially viable MEMS development tools, thereby giving
widespread commercial access to high performance MEMS technology developed
by Sandia, said Frank Damico, Microcosms Manager for Manufacturing
Partnerships. The SUMMiT V design kit will offer a common interface for MEMS
device production, and our consulting engineering services will offer a
fast-track for telecom and biotech companies requiring prototype and
Sandia technology transfer specialist Angelo Salamone, who negotiated the license with Microcosm, says: We receive
royalties on products and services offered by Microcosm. In return, we believe
our MEMS applications and computer-aided design tools can add functionality to
the companys tool kit. We intend to partner to expand the capabilities for
design rule checking, which warns a client that though the device would work,
the rules being broken in the process of design will reduce manufacturability.
Microcosm provides an infrastructure design through manufacturing and
testing to enable rapid innovations fueled by MEMS technology, says Jeff
Hilbert, Microcosms Vice President of Business Development and Professional
Services. We are currently working with over 20 leading optical startups who
are seeking our expertise to help them develop optical mirrors, optical
amplifiers, gain compensators, muliplexors, and mechanisms that move their
optical components. The access to non-captive production capability to
manufacture pre-simulated and refined designs is critical to the success of
these companies. This agreement will help seal that success.
Microcosm Technologies provides software, engineering and consulting services,
intellectual property, and manufacturing partnerships for the development of
MEMS and microfluidics-enabled products for telecommunications and
biotechnology applications. The privately held company is headquartered in
Cary, N.C. It also has US offices in Cambridge, Mass., Colorado Springs, Colo.,
San Diego, San Francisco, and San Mateo, Calif.; European headquarters in Paris;
European offices in Amsterdam and Munich; an office in Japan; and serves the
Asia Pacific regions through a network of regional distributors.
Sandia is a multiprogram laboratory operated by Sandia Corporation, a Lockheed Martin Company, for the United States Department of Energy under contract DE-AC04-94AL85000. With main facilities in Albuquerque, N.M., and Livermore, Calif., Sandia has major research and development responsibilities in national security, energy and environmental technologies, and economic competitiveness.
Neal Singer, firstname.lastname@example.org, (505) 845-7078
Jay Jakubczak, email@example.com, (505) 844-9196
Microcosm media contact:
Gail Massari, firstname.lastname@example.org, (919) 854-7500, ext. 102
More information about Microcosm and its products and services can be found at