Block MEMS Receives Micro/Nano Technology DARPA award
Marlborough, Massachusetts – October 23, 2007
Block MEMS, LLC, a leading developer of microelectromechanical systems (MEMS) based devices, has been awarded a research contract by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) to develop a unique Micro/Nano mechanical switch. The ultimate goal of this effort is to use this nanosecond (one billionth of a second) level switch as part of a new class of high speed electromechanical (i.e. not electronic) components and computers. This switch would be immune to high temperatures, electromagnetic interference (EMI) and other similar effects that could completely incapacitate many of today's electronic systems, including state-of-the-art computers and mobile communications equipment for critical military operations. This contract is in addition to a series of other MEMS related awards over the past year received by Block MEMS in this area.
"I am pleased to receive this award from DARPA and expand our company's micro-engineering technologies into new areas. Block MEMS is paving new ground in the field of next generation MEMS, and this contract will provide significant synergies among the various active efforts at our company," said Dr. Petros Kotidis, CEO of Block Engineering.
As part of this effort, Block MEMS will utilize its expertise in micro-engineering and MEMS-based structures to demonstrate the potential for nanosecond level mechanical switching at the Nanoscale dimensions.
"This is a very exciting program with ambitious technical goals that will complement our company's micro-engineering skills and allow the demonstration of a breakthrough device. Block MEMS will utilize several innovative technologies in order to meet the technical objectives of this program," commented Mr. E. Robert Schildkraut, Vice President of R&D at Block MEMS.
About Block MEMS, LLC
Block MEMS, LLC, an affiliate of Spectra Optics, Inc., has been established a few years ago to develop breakthrough microelectromechanical (MEMS) technologies with a particular focus in a miniaturized MEMS FT-IR chemical sensor, called ChemPen™, which will be the size of a pen, cost a few hundred dollars and be able to detect hundreds of gases. A working prototype should be available by the summer of 2008. Block Engineering, LLC, another affiliate of Spectra Optics, has more than 50 years of experience making custom and standard chemical detection spectrometers, based on FT-IR technology, for a number of government and commercial customers. Block Engineering has teamed with the Northrop Grumman Corporation to market the Mobile Chemical Agent Detection system (MCAD). MCAD is a system for standoff (up to 5 km) detection of chemical attacks and is used to protect soldiers on the battlefield, military facilities or in homeland defense. Block Engineering has also recently introduced a PORTable Hazard Observation System (PORTHOS™), which is capable of providing similar standoff detection of chemical agents and toxic industrial chemicals, but in a lightweight, battery-operated, rugged system that can be carried by soldiers, first responders and HazMat teams.