I am collaborating in the development of three-dimensional force instrumentation for use in conjunction with optical microscopes, for use mainly in the biomedical and material sciences. This technology applies controlled 3D forces in the range of pico Newtons to nano Newtons by electromagnets on free floating magnetic probes hundreds of nanometers ([nm]) to a few microns ([μm]) in diameter. Water jet machining was a fascinating candidate (along with laser cutting and photolithography), but until the advent of Micro Waterjet LLC (MWJ), it lacked the precision and kerf width essential for our purposes.
Working with Micro Waterjet LLC engineers, researchers prototyped two pole geometries, one of which is shown in the SEM image from 150[μm] thick Hiperco50® sheet.
Working with MWJ engineers, we have prototyped two pole geometries. Preliminary estimates of production costs compare favorably with the other methods described. While more tests lie ahead of us as of this writing, I am optimistic that MWJ technology is a superior solution for our needs.