Flexures and cantilevers are found in many modern instruments: Without them, atomic force microscopes, ultra-precision scales, and ultra-sensitive microphones would not be possible. In fact, flexures are among the most common elements found in microelectromechanical systems (MEMS). They provide the essential mobility that defines MEMS.
Flexures and cantilevers are typically manufactured out of metals or, in the case of MEMS, out of silicon.
Flexures made out of fused silica glass are now available directly from Translume. You are probably thinking that a flexure made of fused silica glass will break as soon as it is activated, but if the flexure was fabricated with our femtoEtch you would be wrong: Our fused silica flexures are super strong.
Still doubtful? Have a look at this video (courtesy of Dr. Y. Bellouard, TU Eindhoven):
Why use flexures made from fused silica?
Fused silica has material characteristics, which make it an ideal material in demanding flexure applications.
Fused silica has an extremely low coefficient of thermal expansion, thus making our fused silica flexures practically immune to temperature variations. This is extremely desirable in many metrology applications.
Furthermore, fused silica shows an almost perfect brittle-elastic behavior at temperatures lower than the transformation point. Being made from a purely elastic material, our flexures will not suffer from wearing or creeping, even after millions of cycles.
Because of the many unusual positive aspects of our manufacturing processes, we can fabricate* a wide range of flexures and cantilevers, including flexures with exclusive characteristics.
For example we can fabricate flexures with an imbedded optical waveguide.
We can also fabricate sensors and micro-instruments whose designs require the integration of one or many flexures.
Contact us with your custom requirements.
*We first demonstrated the manufacturing of glass flexures with the assistance of Professor Yves Bellouard of the Technical University at Eindhoven (Netherlands).