Scientists have devised the world's most advanced gas-sampling procedure allowing repeated measurements using only picoliters of gas at Sandia National Laboratories.
Scientists have devised the world's most advanced gas-sampling procedure allowing repeated measurements using only picoliters of gas at Sandia National Laboratories. The method involves a small commercial valve that works like a trash compactor. The valve crushes a tiny object (usually a MEMS device) until it releases its gases currently, about 30 nanoliters into a custom-built intake manifold.
The point of the test is to check whether the atmosphere inside the MEMS chip is pure. "I know of no one, anywhere else, who can do this kind of testing," says Sandia innovator Steve Thornberg.
Because the test mechanism needs only picoliters of gas, the instrument can recheck its own results using bursts of gas delivered in a series of puffsdozens of times from the same crushed device in a 20-min span. The method provides statistically significant atmospheric measurements at any given moment in a component's life cycle.
(Current industry tests can at best make only one reading from the release of nanoliters of gas. And a single, statisticallyunverified result may contain significant error.)