Manufacturing & Prototyping

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.

Posted in: Manufacturing & Prototyping, Briefs, TSP

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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.

Posted in: Manufacturing & Prototyping, Briefs, TSP

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Web Tool Analyzes Solar Cell Materials

An online tool developed by MIT researchers called “Impurities to Efficiency” - or I2E - allows companies or researchers exploring alternative manufacturing strategies to plug in descriptions of their planned materials and processing steps. After about one minute of simulation, I2E gives an indication of exactly how efficient the resulting solar cell would be in converting sunlight to electricity.

Posted in: Manufacturing & Prototyping, Materials, Software, Simulation Software, Solar Power, Energy Efficiency, Renewable Energy, News, Videos

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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.

Posted in: Manufacturing & Prototyping, Briefs, TSP

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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.

Posted in: Manufacturing & Prototyping, Briefs, TSP

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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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An Introduction to Lean Manufacturing

In production plants across the globe, lean manufacturing techniques are being utilized to meet increasing demands placed on manufacturers. Buyers now require quicker turnaround, better service, and higher quality – all at a competitive price. For many, these techniques have helped them to dramatically increase their competitive edge, while continuing to remove wasteful practices and contribute to the bottom line. In this white paper you will be introduced to the concept of lean manufacturing, its guiding principles, and how portable measurement technology can help you achieve your lean goals.

Posted in: Manufacturing & Prototyping, White Papers

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