Bulk Metallic Glass: The Smaller the Better



Bulk metallic glasses (BMGs) are strong, highly elastic, and resistant to wear but still find limited utility due to their macroscopic brittle nature, high costs, and difficulty of processing, particularly when complex shapes are desired. These drawbacks can be mitigated when BMGs are used in miniature parts (< 1 cm), an application which takes advantage of BMGs' enhanced plasticity at small length scales as well the insignificant material cost associated with such parts. As an alternative to traditional metal processing techniques, thermoplastic forming (TPF)-based microfabrication methods have been developed which can process some BMGs like plastics. In this article, we discuss the properties and fabrication of BMGs on minuscule length scales to explore their prospective application in small-scale devices.