Manufacturing & Prototyping

Carbon Nanotube Bonding Strength Enhancement Using Metal “Wicking” Process

Carbon nanotubes grown from a surface typically have poor bonding strength at the interface. A process has been developed for adding a metal coat to the surface of carbon nanotubes (CNTs) through a “wicking” process, which could lead to an enhanced bonding strength at the interface. This process involves merging CNTs with indium as a bump-bonding enhancement.

Posted in: Manufacturing & Prototyping, Briefs

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Germanium Lift-Off Masks for Thin Metal Film Patterning

This innovation has uses in the fabrication of transition edge sensors and microwave kinetic inductance detectors. A technique has been developed for patterning thin metallic films that are, in turn, used to fabricate microelectronics circuitry and thin-film sensors. The technique uses germanium thin films as lift-off masks. This requires development of a technique to strip or undercut the germanium chemically without affecting the deposited metal. Unlike in the case of conventional polymeric lift-off masks, the substrate can be exposed to very high temperatures during processing (sputter deposition). The reason why polymeric liftoff masks cannot be exposed to very high temperatures (>100 °C) is because (a) they can become cross linked, making lift-off very difficult if not impossible, and (b) they can outgas nitrogen and oxygen, which then can react with the metal being deposited. Consequently, this innovation is expected to find use in the fabrication of transition edge sensors and microwave kinetic inductance detectors, which use thin superconducting films deposited at high temperature as their sensing elements.

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Multi-Layer Far- Infrared Component Technology

A method has been developed for fabricating high-reflectivity, multi-layer optical films for the terahertz wavelength region. A silicon mirror with 99.997-percent reflectivity at 70 μm wavelength requires an air gap of 17.50 μm, and a silicon thickness of 5.12 μm. This approach obtains pre-thinned wafers of about 20 mm thickness in order to measure their thickness precisely. A gold annulus of appropriate thickness is deposited to reach the required total thickness. This, in turn, has the central aperture etched down to the desired final silicon thickness. Also, the novel Bragg stack optics in this innovation are key to providing Fabry-Perot spectroscopy and improved spectral component technologies of unprecedented resolution, free spectral range, and aperture.

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Glovebox for GeoLab Subsystem in HDU1-PEM

The semiconductor, biotechnology, and nuclear industries may have potential use for these gloveboxes. The GeoLab glovebox was designed to enable the preliminary examination, by astronauts, of geological samples collected from the surface of another planetary body. The collected information would then aid scientists in making decisions about sample curation and prioritization for return to Earth for study. This innovation was designed around a positive-pressureenriched nitrogen environment glovebox to reduce sample handling contamination. The structure was custom-designed to fit in section H of NASA’s Habitat Demonstration Unit 1 Pressurized Excursion Module (HDU1-PEM). In addition, the glovebox was designed to host analytical instruments in a way that prevents sample contamination.

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Modified Process Reduces Porosity When Soldering in Reduced Gravity Environments

A modified process yields lower levels of internal porosity for solder joints produced in reduced-gravity environments. The process incorporates both alternative materials and a modified procedure. The process provides the necessary cleaning action to enable effective bonding of the applied solder alloy with the materials to be joined.

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Optical Manufacturing Guidelines for Medical OEMs

With careful planning, system integrators can select the optimal optics, filters, light sources, and cameras for their medical diagnostic instrumentation. Custom integration of original equipment manufacturer (OEM) products can be complex, particularly for medical device integrators that build diagnostic instruments incorporating numerous optical components. Often, objective lenses, illumination sources, and imaging detectors are assembled and custom-mounted into finished instruments. Such components must not only meet stringent performance requirements, but often have to meet established Food and Drug Administration (FDA) standards.

Posted in: Bio-Medical, Photonics, Manufacturing & Prototyping, Medical, Briefs, MDB

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Fabrication of a Kilopixel Array of Superconducting Microcalorimeters With Microstripline Wiring

A document describes the fabrication of a two-dimensional microcalorimeter array that uses microstrip wiring and integrated heat sinking to enable use of high-performance pixel designs at kilo - pixel scales (32×32). Each pixel is the high-resolution design employed in small-array test devices, which consist of a Mo/Au TES (transition edge sensor) on a silicon nitride membrane and an electroplated Bi/Au absorber. The pixel pitch within the array is 300 microns, where absorbers 290 microns on a side are cantilevered over a silicon support grid with 100-micron-wide beams. The high-density wiring and heat sinking are both carried by the silicon beams to the edge of the array. All pixels are wired out to the array edge.

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