Letter from the Editor
I’ve noticed over the years with the approach of Christmas that family members begin to slip into their conversation such tidbits as, "Good things come in small packages." I try to look puzzled by these remarks. Much later, when it’s too late, I might think of a possible rejoinder like, "Are you saying too much of a good thing is bad?"
What exactly does the statement, "Good things come in small packages" mean? Well, family discussions aside, it turns out that many good things are beginning to appear in small packages called mechanical integrated circuits, or MEMS (Micro-Electro-Mechanical-Systems). MEMS devices are finding rapidly growing applications in display systems, sensors and actuators, biotechnology, optical controls, inkjet printing, etc. These devices usually have dimensions in the micron to millimeter range and use large-scale batch-fabrication techniques for their production, which makes them particularly attractive for many specialized applications.
Because of their small scale MEMS devices are difficult to directly visualize much less make quantitative measurements to improve their performance. This is a situation where computer simulation shines as an attractive alternative. In this issue of the News we show how FLOW-3D is ideally suited for simulating many physical processes used to control the movement of small amounts of liquid in micron-sized geometry.
If good things do come in small packages, then we hope the information in
this small newsletter will lead our readers to good things.