Micromachining is a relatively new manufacturing process, used by engineers, biomechanics, and other industries to recreate processes and experiments at a micro level. In this post, we’ll cover just what exactly is micromachining and go into detail how it works.

What is Micromachining?

Mechanical micromachining or commonly known as micromachining is a manufacturing technology that involves the use of mechanical micro tools with geometrically defined cutting edges in the subtractive fabrication of devices or features with at least some of their dimensions in the micrometer range.

How small is a micrometer?

A micrometer is one millionth of a meter. This can be illustrated by 1×10−6 meter. The average diameter of human hair is 20-200 micrometers, while the smallest human chromosome is approximately 10 micrometers in length.

What Can Micromachining Do?

Micromachining allows engineers to create small, intricate parts. These parts can then be used in experiments, recreating large-scale processes at a tiny scale. Organ on a chip and microfluidics are two examples of uses for micromachining.

Which Materials are used in Micromachining?

Traditionally micromachining has been applied to a variety of materials. These materials include polymers, metals, alloys, and other hard materials. However, the drawback to many of these materials is that they are single use, and do not allow for easy duplication. The team at Citrogene has a proprietary method for glass micromachining. Glass micromachining is an intricate process, but it allows for engineers to re-use and recreate processes that would otherwise be impossible at a larger scale or with more traditional materials and alloys.

Micromachining Techniques

There are two common micromachining techniques used today. The first is called bulk micromachining. Bulk micormachining is typically used to create micro-electro-mechanical systems (MEMS) through selective etching of a silicon substrate. The other technique is called surface micromachining. This micromachining technique builds within a surface layer that’s been deposited on top of a silicon wafer. Each technique has unique pros and cons associated with it, and both are used to manufacture a wide array of exceedingly small devices. These devices include MEMs, inertial sensors, gyroscopes, pressure sensing devices, lab-on-chip, organ-on-a-chip, and more.

Citrogene: Glass Micromachining Engineers

Citrogene is the leading provider of glass micromachining services and products. We work with our partners to create their submitted designed and meet all their required specifications to create intricate, expertly manufactured glass micromachined devices. If you are interested in learning more about our glass micromachining capabilities, submit your design and contact us today.