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A MEMS Ejector for Printing Applications

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Ejectors applications range from ink-jet printing to drug delivery. MEMS (Micro-Electro-Mechanical Systems) fabrication techniques, particularly surface micromachining, allow production of small monolithic structures that can be adapted to many applications. We will report on the design, fabrication, and testing of a surface micromachined MEMS liquid ejection system for printing applications.

The ejectors were fabricated using the SUMMiT process (www.sandia.mdl/Micromachine), a surface micromachining process. The only assembly required is electrical connection and attachment of a fluid reservoir. The process includes 3 layers of structural polysilicon (poly), separated by layers of sacrificial silicon dioxide (oxide). The final step of the fabrication process is the removal of the oxide to release the poly structure.

The system ejects small volume (3-4 picoliters), satellite free drops at approximately 10 m/s. To eject a drop a piston is drawn rapidly towards a plate containing a nozzle through which the drop is ejected. The ejectors are electrostatically actuated. Since the electric field is across the ejected fluid, device operation is sensitive to the dielectric strength, breakdown voltage and conductivity of the fluid.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2001-01-01

More about this publication?
  • For more than 30 years, IS&T's series of digital printing conferences have been the leading forum for discussion of advances and new directions in 2D and 3D printing technologies. A comprehensive, industry-wide conference that brings together industry and academia, this meeting includes all aspects of the hardware, materials, software, images, and applications associated with digital printing systems?particularly those involved with additive manufacturing and fabrication?including bio-printing, printed electronics, page-wide, drop-on-demand, desktop and continuous ink jet, toner-based systems, and production digital printing, as well as the engineering capability, optimization, and science involved in these fields. In 2016, the conference changed its name formally to Printing for Fabrication to better reflect the content of the meeting and the evolving technology of printing.

    Please note: For purposes of its Digital Library content, IS&T defines Open Access as papers that will be downloadable in their entirety for free in perpetuity. Copyright restrictions on papers vary; see individual paper for details.

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