PARIS --- As part of the RAPID * system funded by the Ministry of Armed Forces, SilMach, an innovative French SME specializing in Micro-Electro-Mechanical Systems (MEMS), has developed, with the support of the Directorate General (DGA), an electrostatic silicon micromotor technology called PowerMEMS, designed to animate highly integrated micromachines.
From the connected watch to the propulsion of micro-drones of the "dragonfly" type, potential applications are considerable as MEMS consists of mechanical engineering applied to microelectronics.
Zoom on the engine of the dragonfly drone: the objective of this futuristic project is to draw a few milligrams of the silicon engine a mechanical force sufficient to make the wings of the drone beat with the desired speed, amplitude and frequency.
The over-powered version of PowerMEMS "dragonfly" prefigures future generations of engines for civilian applications. Using the unique high-performance mechanical properties of silicon, PowerMEMS' unique technology makes it possible to simplify the architecture of motors in the form of an elastic monobloc directly driving a rotor. Ultra-compact, lubricant-free, wear-resistant and very precise, this electrostatic motor offers a useful force of several mN for a feather weight of a few milligrams.
(*) The RAPID (Dual Innovation Support Scheme) is a program of the Directorate-General for Armaments (DGA), in partnership with the Directorate-General for Enterprise (DGE), and has a budget funded by the Ministry of the Armed Forces. It supports industrial research or experimental development projects having high technological potential, with military applications but also spin-offs for civil markets. These dual innovation projects are offered by independent SMEs or STEs with fewer than 2,000 employees, either alone or in a consortium with a company or a research organization. Since the creation of RAPID in 2009, € 353 million has been invested in nearly 500 innovative projects.