In this episode, we talk to Dr. Michael Dugger, Distinguished Technical Staff Member at Sandia National Laboratories. Dr. Dugger discusses nanotribology and MEMS (micro-electrical-mechanical systems). MEMS are small mechanical devices that are driven by, or have as their output, electrical signals.
According to Dr. Dugger, nanotribology is "the study of interactions of small collections of atoms involving relative motion between one group of atoms and another." Nanotribology is a key component of nanotechnology and its development. According to an article in TLT from January 2009, "a dozen nano products are commercially introduced each month-and lubrication issues are at the heart of nearly all of them." Lubrication at the nano scale is fundamentally different and requires a different approach because what works on the normal scale, may not work in an application at the nano scale.
Dr. Dugger is one of many working and researching in this area, attempting to discover what lubrication methods work best and how to apply this research to the use of MEMS. Here, you can see the scale of a typical friction device that is used at Sandia.
Click here to download the episode, listen to it in the slider bar above, or read the transcript. For more on Dr. Dugger, his research, and Sandia National Laboratories, read TLT's 20 Minutes article, or visit the STLE website. You can stay updated on recent innovations in nanotribology by attending the 2011 STLE Annual Meeting, which will have a nanotribology technical track.