Materials with Embedded Microstructural Logic
Robert Panas | 19-ERD-018
The goal of this project is to design, build, and test robust microscale mechanical logic circuits that can be fabricated into the microstructure of an architected material, or onto the surface of conventional materials, with additive manufacturing techniques. While computation has been synonymous with powered electronics, there exist scenarios where mechanical computation is advantageous, such as harsh environmental constraints in high temperature, radiation, limited power supply, or minimal EM signature requirements.
Preliminary work has demonstrated functionally complete digital mechanical logic gates based on bi-stable flexure elements which represent distinct logic states as displacements using non-linear elasto-mechanics. Scale-independent design rules were established to allow systematic development of mechanical logic circuits over all size scales. Information storage, signal propagation, and logical operation, functions which are essential to mechanical logic computation, were successfully performed in micro- and macro-fabricated proof-of-concept demonstrations, ranging over 3 orders of magnitude. Mechanical logic can register, evaluate and record events for later interrogation, drawing from microscale transducers with a wide range of inputs (chemical, biological, thermal, mechanical, electronic, optical, etc.), all without power use.
This project supports the Laboratory's core competency in Advanced Materials and Manufacturing, as well as broader lab missions. Unpowered micro-mechanical logic circuits offer the potential to sense the environment without power use and record this information in a form that can later be interrogated, all in a structure the size of a grain of sand. These tiny and unpowered devices could be broadly deployed to record rare events. Such smart dust could record the passage of nuclear materials, as well as evidence of disease or chemical/bio-weapons in public areas to protect against weapons of mass destruction. Smart dust could be embedded in high-value systems like the U.S. nuclear weapons stockpile to check for leaks/failures/internal damage, helping enhance the safety, security and effectiveness of the stockpile.
Publications, Presentations, and Patents
Cortes, J., et al, 2020. "Ceramic Two-Photon Printing of High Aspect Ratio Microstructures." In Proceedings of American Society for Precision Engineering Virtual 35 Annual Meeting, Oct 19-23, 2020. LLNL-ABS-815149.
Cortes, J., et al, 2021. "Characterizing Shrinkage and Quality of Ceramic Two-Photon Printed Microstructures." In Joint Special Interest Group meeting between euspen and ASPE Advancing Precision in Additive Manufacturing, Inspire AG, St. Gallen, Switzerland, Sept 21-23, 2021. LLNL-CONF-823399.
Cortes, J., et al, 2021. "Accounting for Shrinkage in Functional Ceramic Structures Printed Through Two-Photon Polymerization." In Proceedings of American Society for Precision Engineering 36th Annual Meeting, Minneapolis, MN, Nov 1-5, 2021. LLNL-CONF-826753.
Panas, Robert M., Bekker, Logan, Mancini, Julie, Pascall, Andrew, Hopkins, Jonathan B., and Farzaneh, Amin. 2020. System and Methods for Micromechanical Displacement-Based Logic Circuits. US Patent 10,855,259, filed March 4, 2020, and issued December 1, 2020.
Panas, Robert M., Hopkins, Jonathan B., and McHenry, Robert. 2020. System and Method for Multi-DOF Cross-Pivot Flexure Bearing with Enhanced Range and Enhanced Load Capacity. US patent application 16/953,039, filed November 19, 2020.
Panas, Robert M., and Sun, Frederick. 2021. System and Method for Micromechanical Logical AND Operator. US patent application 17/331,107, filed November May 26, 2021.
Panas, R.M. et al, 2021. "Combining cross-pivot flexures to generate improved kinematically equivalent flexure systems," Precision Engineering 82: 237-249. LLNL-JRNL-817077.
Pascall, Andrew, Mancini, Julie, Panas, Robert M., and Song, Yuanping. 2020. System for Mechanical Logic Based on Additively Manufacturable Micro-Mechanical Logic Gates. US Patent 10,678,293, filed November 2, 2018, and issued June 9, 2020.
Sun, F. et al, 2019. "A Study of Micro-Mechanical Logic Elements." In Proceedings of American Society for Precision Engineering 34 Annual Meeting, Pittsburgh, PA, 28 October-1 November 2019. LLNL-PROC-781723.
Sun, F. et al., 2020. Parasitic Error Compensated Large Displacement Rotary Flexure. Record of Invention at LLNL, filed March 31, 2020.
Sun, F. et al, 2020. "Design, Fabrication and Signal Propagation Characteristics of Micro-Mechanical Logic Elements." In Proceedings of American Society for Precision Engineering Virtual 35 Annual Meeting, 19-23 October 2020. LLNL-PROC-807261.
Sun, F. et al, 2021. "A Set of Turing Complete Mechanical Logic Elements And A Simple Logic Circuit." In Proceedings of American Society for Precision Engineering 36th Annual Meeting, Minneapolis, MN, Nov 1-5, 2021. LLNL-CONF-826249.