Fourth Year Engineering

Design and Fabrication of a Magnetic Micro-Motor
(Electrical Engineering Project, Mark Grant)

Mark GrantMy project involves designing and building a very tiny motor, so small that it is only just visible to the naked eye. I am working with one other person, in a team of two, to fabricate the motor, which is based on the use of magnetic rather than electrostatic forces. Having come up with our design, we are now using the same methods of fabrication that people use to print circuits on silicon chips. That means that we start off by creating our design on a computer, and this is sent off and a mask fabricated which can then be used to expose a light sensitive material on a silicon wafer, so creating a 'photo' of our design on the surface.

We now have to develop ways of etching away the material that has been exposed to the light to leave the tiny components that we need.

Micro-motorI chose this project because it crosses many disciplines, involving structures, mechanics, materials and manufacturing. We have had to learn all sorts of techniques of materials processing: how to evaporate thin films on the surface and how to etch these films to produce well defined components that do not get distorted during processing. All the work is carried out in a clean room. I hope that by the end of the project we will have produced a motor that will go round.

Applications for these types of motor that can be scaled up in size to be around 2-3 mm in diameter include pumping air or blood, generating electricity on a small scale, and powering other miniature devices.