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Science  27 Nov 1998:
Vol. 282, Issue 5394, pp. 1607
DOI: 10.1126/science.282.5394.1607a

This spider mite, described as “a small white fleck to the human eye,” is a Godzilla compared to the levers, gears, and latches in a Web gallery of micro-electromechanical systems at Sandia National Labs ( Scientists are looking to these miniature mechanisms etched from silicon for applications such as connections for optical fibers and nuclear weapons locks (Science, 16 October, p. 402). Sandia researchers have shown off their creations with dozens of scanning electron micrographs and movies—including clips like the World's Smallest Mite-Go-Round, in which mites whirl around on a spinning gear. Sandia's Paul McWhorter says his group began sprinkling dust mites on top of their wafers about a year ago—they now keep a supply of mites on a houseplant—to lend perspective to the devices' size and strength: “People had trouble believing they were real.”

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