Manufacturing & Prototyping

Novel Materials Containing Single-Wall Carbon Nanotubes Wrapped in Polymer Molecules

Coating carbon nanotubes in polymer molecules creates a new class of materials with enhanced mechanical properties for printed circuit boards, antenna arrays, and optoelectronics. In this design, single-wall carbon nanotubes (SWNTs) have been coated in polymer molecules to create a new type of material that has low electrical conductivity, but still contains individual nanotubes, and small ropes of individual nanotubes, which are themselves good electrical conductors and serve as small conducting rods immersed in an electrically insulating matrix. The polymer is attached through weak chemical forces that are primarily non-covalent in nature, caused primarily through polarization rather than the sharing of valence electrons. Therefore, the electronic structure of the SWNT involved is substantially the same as that of free, individual (and small ropes of) SWNT. Their high conductivity makes the individual nanotubes extremely electrically polarizable, and materials containing these individual, highly polarizable molecules exhibit novel electrical properties including a high dielectric constant.

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Light-Curing Adhesive Repair Tapes

Adhesive resins in tapes are rigidized in place by exposure to light. Adhesive tapes, the adhesive resins of which can be cured (and thereby rigidized) by exposure to ultraviolet and/or visible light, are being developed as repair patch materials. The tapes, including their resin components, consist entirely of solid, low-out-gassing, nonhazardous or minimally hazardous materials. They can be used in air or in vacuum and can be cured rapidly, even at temperatures as low as –20 °C. Although these tapes were originally intended for use in repairing structures in outer space, they can also be used on Earth for quickly repairing a wide variety of structures. They can be expected to be especially useful in situations in which it is necessary to rigidize tapes after wrapping them around or pressing them onto the parts to be repaired.

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Zinc Alloys for the Fabrication of Semiconductor Devices

Materials improve the performance of semiconductor devices. ZnBeO and ZnCdSeO alloys have been disclosed as materials for the improvement in performance, function, and capability of semiconductor devices. The alloys can be used alone or in combination to form active photonic layers that can emit over a range of wavelength values.

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Two-Step Plasma Process for Cleaning Indium Bonding Bumps

This process could increase yields in the manufacture of consumer electronic products. A two-step plasma process has been developed as a means of removing surface oxide layers from indium bumps used in flip-chip hybridization (bump bonding) of integrated circuits. This process has considerable commercial potential in that flip-chip hybridization is used in the manufacture of cellular telephones and other compact, portable electronic products.

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Tool for Crimping Flexible Circuit Leads

A hand tool has been developed for crimping leads in flexible tails that are parts of some electronic circuits — especially some sensor circuits. The tool is used to cut the tails to desired lengths and attach solder tabs to the leads. For tailoring small numbers of circuits for special applications, this hand tool is a less expensive alternative to a commercially available automated crimping tool. The crimping tool consists of an off-the-shelf hand crimping tool plus a specialized crimping insert designed specifically for the intended application.

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Improved Assembly for Gas Shielding During Welding or Brazing

Inert gas is distributed evenly over the region surrounding the weld joint. An improved assembly for inert-gas shielding of a metallic joint is designed to be useable during any of a variety of both laser-based and traditional welding and brazing processes. The basic purpose of this assembly or of a typical prior related assembly is to channel the flow of a chemically inert gas to a joint to prevent environmental contamination of the joint during the welding or brazing process and, if required, to accelerate cooling upon completion of the process.

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Fabricating PFPE Membranes for Microfluidic Valves and Pumps

This process contributes to development of “laboratory-on-a-chip” devices. A process has been developed for fabricating membranes of a perfluoropolyether (PFPE) and integrating them into valves and pumps in “laboratory-on-a-chip” microfluidic devices. Membranes of poly(tetrafluoroethylene) [PTFE] and poly(dimethylsilane) [PDMS] have been considered for this purpose and found wanting. By making it possible to use PFPE instead of PTFE or PDMS, the present process expands the array of options for further development of microfluidic devices for diverse applications that could include detection of biochemicals of interest, detection of toxins and biowarfare agents, synthesis and analysis of proteins, medical diagnosis, and synthesis of fuels.

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