MEMSjet Drop Ejector


Xerox has developed a MEMS (Micro ElectroMechanical System) based drop ejector, known as MEMSJet. MEMSJet is a high-speed, precise fluid delivery mechanism that enables the delivery of extremely small drop sizes in a reliable manner. Xerox is actively offering MEMSJet for applications ranging from drug delivery to chemical deposition and analysis.

Technology Description

MEMSJet, a MEMS-based liquid ejection system, consists of a silicon diaphragm, a counter electrode, and a nozzle plate built over the diaphragm structure. The space between the nozzle plate and the diaphragm is filled with fluid that is supplied by a reservoir. Initially, the diaphragm is in the horizontal (undeflected) position. When a bias voltage is applied between the diaphragm and the counter electrode, the diaphragm deflects. A bias voltage pulls down the diaphragm. As the diaphragm deflects, the volume in the chamber increases, drawing in more fluid. When the bias voltage is removed, the relaxation of the diaphragm pressurizes the fluid. This causes a liquid drop to be formed and ejected out of the nozzle aperture.

Benefits

The Xerox MEMSJet technology, together with your industry-specific skill and market knowledge, enables the design of highly accurate, scalable devices to control and move minute amounts of fluids.

Applications

Xerox is licensing patents and know-how to companies engaged in the development, design, manufacturing, and sale of BioMEMS for the following applications:
  • DNA / RNA arrays
  • Protein chips
  • Lab-on-a-Chip technology - high-throughput screening, bioassays
  • Sensing and dosing
  • Drug delivery systems

Intellectual Property Summary

Know-How and Skills

Xerox developed MEMS technologies to support our thermal ink jet (TIJ) product lines. The manufacture of the MEMS components for these products required the development of new technologies enabling the production of exceptionally precise channels and other structures on silicon using standard semiconductor etching processes. Orientation dependent etching technology is one of the most precise fabrication processes available for building accurate structures on the surface of a silicon chip. This process, together with precision dicing, chip placement and metrology can produce macroscopic structures 20cm or more across while maintaining micron-level tolerances. In addition, our surface coating technologies make it possible to manipulate and transport a wide variety of fluids without effecting the adjacent electronic circuitry. Finally, our matrix addressing technology enables the fabrication of these structures with a minimum of interconnects, ultimately producing a more reliable and less-expensive component.

Xerox possesses core competencies in the following MEMS-related activities:
  • Generation and modeling of MEMS concepts and intellectual property in electrical, mechanical, and fluidic domains
  • MEMS process development including bulk (SOI - Silicon on Insulator) and surface (polysilicon) micromachining
  • Integration of MEMS with CMOS integrated circuitry
  • Design and layout of MEMS devices using CAD layout tools
  • Back-end processing of MEMS devices including dicing, releasing, and packaging of fluidic devices
  • Development of coatings and polymer / silicon hybrid ejector systems
  • Polysilicon heater fabrication and control software
  • Microfabrication in polymers, heating elements, bonding, surface coatings, optical sensors, coating processes, miniaturized valves and pumps, rapid heating and cooling processes and mechanisms, and side-by-side alignment

Patent Summary

Xerox has a substantial patent portfolio including patent applications related to the MEMSJet Liquid Ejection System.

Xerox also has impressive and effective MEMS technology in the following areas:
  • Precision etching processes for silicon, polymer, glass, and polysilicon substrates
  • Precision alignment and bonding of MEMS wafers
  • Microfluidic manipulation and movement
  • Flow control, heating elements and other devices that control fluids
  • Know-how and skills that enable optimal design and performance
  • New photopolymers and polymer coatings for MEMS applications

For your convenience and review, we have provided a sample of selected patents from our portfolio.

U.S. 7226146 Fluid ejection devices and methods for forming such devices
U.S. 7131628 Vented MEMS structures and methods
U.S. 7108354 Electrostatic actuator with segmented electrode
U.S. 7060522 Membrane structures for micro-devices micro-devices including same and methods for making same
U.S. 6572218 Electrostatically-actuated device having a corrugated multi-layer membrane structure
U.S. 6540315 Systems and methods for stitching overlapping swaths
U.S. 6508947 Method for fabricating a micro-electro-mechanical fluid ejector
U.S. 6467879 Method and apparatus for preventing degradation of electrostatically actuated devices
U.S. 6357865 Micro-electro-mechanical fluid ejector and method of operating same


For Licensing Information

To learn more about licensing the MEMSjet Drop Ejector technology.