Manufacturing & Prototyping

Growing Carbon Nanotubes Aligned With Patterns

Positions and orientations of individual nanotubes could be tailored. A process has been proposed for growing carbon nanotubes aligned substantially parallel with the nominal planar surfaces of substrates and further aligned with patterns on the substrates. Prior to growth, the patterns would be formed by micromachining the substrates, which could be silicon or siliconon- insulator (SOI) wafers. By making it possible to tailor the positions and orientations of individual carbon nanotubes grown on pre-patterned substrates, this process would enable advances in nanotube-based electronic and electromechanical devices.

Posted in: Manufacturing & Prototyping, Briefs, TSP

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Two Concepts for Deployable Trusses

Thermal-actuation and misalignment-tolerant double-pivot designs are proposed.Two concepts that could be applied separately or together have been suggested to enhance the utility of deployable truss structures. The concepts were intended originally for application to a truss structure to be folded for compact stowage during transport and subsequently deployed in outer space. The concepts may also be applicable, with some limitations, to deployable truss structures designed to be used on Earth.

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External Adhesive Pressure-Wall Patch

A hole in a pressure wall can be patched, without need for previously installed faste A mechanical device has been developed for applying an adhesive patch, from the outside, to the wall of a spacecraft module that has lost pressure because of penetration by a meteoroid or a piece of orbital debris. This device will make it possible to seal and re-pressurize the affected module during space flight. Devices identical or similar to this one might also prove useful in the repair of other pressurized bodies and similar objects, including gas and oil pipes and ship hulls, for example.

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Glass Cure Plates for Fabricating Flat Composite Panels

Costs are lower than those of aluminum cure plates. Glass plates are used as cure plates in a modified process for the fabrication of flat composite-material (matrix/fiber) panels. In the unmodified previous version of the process the cure plates were made of aluminum.

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Writing Circuit Patterns by Use of Scanning UV Lasers

Prototype circuits can be fabricated rapidly. Scanning ultraviolet (UV) lasers would be used to expose ultraviolet-sensitive photoresists to form patterns of conductors for electronic circuits, according to a proposal. Heretofore, such patterns have been formed by exposing photoresists to collimated ultraviolet or visible light through contact or proximity photomasks. The use of scanning lasers would make it unnecessary to make or use masks, and it would be amenable to rapid fabrication of prototype circuits.

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Software for Designing Plasma Reactors for Microelectronics

Outer-space plasmas and arc-jet plasmas are well known to many researchers at NASA. Efforts to understand the structures of these plasmas have consumed years of research at various NASA laboratories. Computational modeling of such plasmas involves analyses of multicomponent, multitemperature flows, and many computer codes developed by NASA are available for this purpose. Now, researchers at Ames Research Center have applied their expertise to understand a different kind of plasma — the kind used in manufacturing integrated circuits.

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Gap Welding Preforms

Ribbon RF connections could be made with greater consistency. Small, temporary, disposable inserts, called "gap welding preforms," have been proposed for use in attaching electrically conductive ribbons to radio-frequency (RF) electronic circuits. As explained below, the use of gap welding preforms would help to ensure consistency of the ribbon connections and would reduce the time necessary for making the connections.

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