Microelectromechanical systems (MEMS) using carbon fibers rather than silicon could allow high frequency oscillations and perhaps pave the way to video and other devices that are not possible with silicon MEMS. Shahyaan Desai and colleagues at Cornell University have shown that micrometer-scale carbon fibers can bend through more than 90 degrees without snapping and can vibrate in the gigahertz range without degrading. "This is, to our knowledge, the first material to even approach such large deformation at high frequencies without observable fatigue," the researchers say. For decades, researchers have been trying to make video displays using tiny mirrors mounted on silicon oscillators. But silicon is just too slow for this application. Carbon fiber could be the answer.
Carbon fiber video