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Semipermeable Membranes for Micromachined Silicon Surfaces


Sandia National Laboratories has developed semipermeable silicon nitride membranes using an etch process to be co-manufactured on a micromachined silicon surface.


There is a need for a co-fabricated filtration system for enhancement of reliability and functionality in micro fluidic devices.   Common polymer-based and metal based membranes are often incompatible with micromachining methods and requirements for packaging and chemical compatibility.  The ability to utilize the benefits of a semi-permeable membrane without a secondary manufactured component increases functionality and integrability of micro fluidic devices and lab-on-chip applications.


  • Monolithic integration of filters for lap-on-a-chip products
  • Eases cost and complexity of manufacturing
  • Robust
  • Permeability control at time of manufacture
  • Compatible with a wide range of silicon

Applications and Industries

  • Lab-on-a-Chip
  • Microfluidics (gas and liquid)
  • Sample Filtration
  • Fuel Cells

Intellectual Property

ID Number
Patent Number
Process for manufacture of semipermeable silicon nitride membranes 6474.0 6,660,648 12/09/2003
Technology IDSD#6474Development StagePrototype - Sandia estimates this technology at a Technology Readiness Level 5. Key elements of the technology have been demonstrated in relevant environments.AvailabilityAvailable - Various licensing and partnering options are available. Please contact the Intellectual Property Department to discuss.Published09/28/2011Last Updated01/31/2013