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Laser Sintering for Customized Medical Applications

Additive, layer-by-layer manufacturing process allows for the manufacture of complex geometries in plastic and metal implants and orthoses.Engineers have long been aware of the potential of laser sintering to create innovative and beneficial medical products. Because it is an additive (layer-by-layer) manufacturing process, laser sintering can build parts free of the traditional constraints imposed by machining or molding.Recent medical applications of laser sintering are now demonstrating the technology’s unique capabilities for mass customization and the manufacture of designs with complex geometries in both plastics and metals.

Posted in: Bio-Medical, Briefs, Briefs, Custom & Contract Manufacturing, Implants & Prosthetics

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Single, Stationary Lens Able to Create Microscopic 3D Images

Freeform lens could someday provide a proof of concept for manufacturers of microelectronics and medical devices.A lens that enables microscopic objects to be seen from nine different angles at once to create a 3D image has been developed. Other 3D microscopes use multiple lenses or cameras that move around an object; the new lens is the first single, stationary lens to create microscopic 3D images by itself.

Posted in: Bio-Medical, Briefs, Briefs, Diagnostics, Photonics

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Low-Dead-Volume Inlet for Vacuum Chamber

Gas introduction from near-ambient pressures to high vacuum traditionally is accomplished either by multi-stage differential pumping that allows for very rapid response, or by a capillary method that allows for a simple, single-stage introduction, but which often has a delayed response. Another means to introduce the gas sample is to use the multi-stage design with only a single stage. This is accomplished by using a very small conductance limit. The problem with this method is that a small conductance limit will amplify issues associated with dead-volume.

Posted in: Manufacturing & Prototyping, Briefs

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Infrared-Bolometer Arrays With Reflective Backshorts

Operational wavelengths can be tailored by adjusting a few process steps.Integrated circuits that incorporate square arrays of superconducting-transition-edge bolometers with optically reflective backshorts are being developed for use in image sensors in the spectral range from far infrared to millimeter wavelengths. To maximize the optical efficiency (and, thus, sensitivity) of such a sensor at a specific wavelength, resonant optical structures are created by placing the backshorts at a quarter wavelength behind the bolometer plane. The bolometer and backshort arrays are fabricated separately, then integrated to form a single unit denoted a backshort-under-grid (BUG) bolometer array. In a subsequent fabrication step, the BUG bolometer array is connected, by use of single-sided indium bump bonding, to a readout device that comprises mostly a superconducting quantum interference device (SQUID) multiplexer circuit. The resulting sensor unit comprising the BUG bolometer array and the readout device is operated at a temperature below 1 K.

Posted in: Manufacturing & Prototyping, Briefs, TSP

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Method for Selective Cleaning of Mold Release From Composite Honeycomb Surfaces

A simple, EPA-friendly approach solves a long-standing problem in heat-formed composite manufacturing.Honeycomb structures are commonly employed as load- and force-bearing structures as they are structurally strong and lightweight. These structures include many aircraft and spacecraft surfaces, including aircraft wings and fuselages, spacecraft pressure vessels, and heat-shield materials. Many other processes in other areas of transportation and defense, as well as the pharmaceutical and construction industries, employ pressure vessels with similar heat-formed composite structures.

Posted in: Manufacturing & Prototyping, Briefs, TSP

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Thermal Control Method for High-Current Wire Bundles by Injecting a Thermally Conductive Filler

A procedure was developed to inject thermal filler material (a paste-like substance) inside the power wire bundle coming from solar arrays. This substance fills in voids between wires, which enhances the heat path and reduces wire temperature. This leads to a reduced amount of heat generated. This technique is especially helpful for current and future generation high-power spacecraft (1 kW or more), because the heat generated by the power wires is significant enough to cause unacceptable overheating to critical components that are in close contact with the bundle.

Posted in: Manufacturing & Prototyping, Briefs, TSP

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Carbon Nanotube-Based Structural Health Monitoring Sensors

Carbon nanotube (CNT)-based sensors for structural health monitoring (SHM) can be embedded in structures of all geometries to monitor conditions both inside and at the surface of the structure to continuously sense changes. These CNTs can be manipulated into specific orientations to create small, powerful, and flexible sensors. One of the sensors is a highly flexible sensor for crack growth detection and strain field mapping that features a very dense and highly ordered array of single-walled CNTs.

Posted in: Manufacturing & Prototyping, Briefs, TSP

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