This novel assembly technique allows for the efficient construction of three-dimensional Micro-Electromechanical System (MEMS) components, the decoupling of subsystem process flows, and the integration of subsystems that have characteristic length scales of different orders of magnitude.
- Rod assembly in a linear quadrupole
- Alignment of extractor and accelerator electrodes in electrospray arrays
- Precision manual assembly of micro-fabricated components
- Gridded analyzers, e.g. plasma retarding potential analyzers
- Field emission electron sources
Micro electro-mechanical systems (MEMS) often must be finely
tuned to ensure proper device performance. For example, electrodes in
electrospray emitter arrays must be tuned to handle high voltages, transmit signals
between components of very different length scales, and eliminate misalignment
of the electrode-emitter components that introduce irregularities in the
emitted stream and reduce device performance. In linear quadrupole mass filters,
resolution and ion transmission are greatly affected by the misalignment of the
rods and tapers in the device. In a gridded sensor, e.g. an RPA, the misalignment between the apertures of two adjacent grids decreases the signal that is transmitted, causing a geometric reduction of the signal across the electrode stack. In many cases, the assembly requires active
compensation of external effects such as vibration, thermal expansion, etc. to
avoid drifts and long-term deterioration of the performance of the device. Also, in certain cases it is highly desirable to decouple the process flows of systems if a technology that allows to precisely putting together the subsystems is utilized; for example, a field emission electron source that uses carbon nanotubes CNTs) would benefit from decoupling the electrode grid to the growth of CNTs from the deposition of dielectric in the electrode edge provided it is possible to to bring together the grid and CNTs with good alignment.
The inventors describe a technique for the efficient construction of three-dimensional MEMS components, the decoupling of subsystem process flows, and the integration of subsystems with varying characteristic length scales. In this method, components are fortified with features that force proper alignment and cantilever deflection springs that hold the components together once they have been correctly aligned. The technique is applied to the construction of massive electrospray arrays for nanosatellite propulsion and ionization of liquid samples, to the construction of miniaturized linear quadrupoles for portable mass spectrometry, ,to the construction of gridded sensors such as plasma retarding potential analyzers, and to the construction of CNT-based field emission electron sources..
- Allows precision assembly of
quadrupole rods, electrodes, and other MEMS components, particularly those that
operate at high bias voltages, without using any specialized/precision equipment - to the point to even allowing the assembly of the components by hand
- Enables precision assembly of reusable MEMS that perform under different conditions of pressure, voltage, and frequency
- Supports efficient alignment of of arrays of features, e.g. electrode grids to arrays of emitters, electrode grids to arrays of CNTs, or electrode grids part of an electrode stack, and rods in linear quadrupoles