Manufacturing & Prototyping

Three-Dimensional Plastic Part Extrusion and Conductive Ink Printing for Flexible Electronics

Structural electronics, or structronics, seeks to build wiring and electrical interconnects directly into component structures to diminish the need for structural fasteners. A MakerBot Cupcake Computer Numerical Control (CNC) was used to investigate the fabrication of plastic structures by printing, and a Fujifilm Dimatix Materials Printer (DMP) was used to create flexible Printed Circuit Boards (PCBs). After developing processes to make these machines easier to use, others will be able to utilize them to develop structures with integrated electronics.

Posted in: Briefs, Manufacturing & Prototyping, Electronic equipment, Additive manufacturing, Plastics, Parts

Micro-Composite Fabrication via Field-Aided Laminar Composite Processing

Much work has been accomplished since the discovery that particles in a dielectric fluid experience forces when placed in an electric field, including mathematical descriptions of the forces and resulting motion of particles of differing shapes, particle separation and segregation for use in drug delivery, and even the manipulation of long-chain molecules of certain polymers.

Posted in: Briefs, Manufacturing & Prototyping, Fabrication, Composite materials, Polymers

Tin-Based IV-IV Heterostructures Fabricated Using Molecular Beam Epitaxy

The indirect nature of the fundamental energy gap in the elemental semiconductors Si and Ge prevents the use of these materials and their alloys in laser devices. The objective of this work is to fabricate Sn-based IV-IV compounds for finding direct bandgap material. This work focuses on the material system GeSn/Ge, from the growth, characterization, and optical measurement. Experimental evidences on pseudomorphic growth of thick Ge1-xSnx film for Sn composition up to 10% and the direct optical transition are presented.

Posted in: Briefs, Manufacturing & Prototyping, Lasers, Fabrication, Alloys, Semiconductors

Stencil Mask Methodology for Parallelized Production of Microscale Mechanical Test Samples

Over the past decade, there has been considerable progress in the development of new mechanical testing methods to characterize the properties of materials at the micro and nano scales. One common application of these testing methodologies is the measurement of mechanical properties of structures that are physically small in scale, such as the strength of nanowhiskers and MEMS devices. Another common application is the use of small sample testing to gain insight into plastic deformation processes through systematic alteration of the sample dimensions in order to help isolate selected aspects of material behavior. Examples of these studies include the exploration of size-scale strengthening effects, the quantitative measurement and analysis of dislocation avalanches, and the measurement of local property variations in engineering alloys.

Posted in: Briefs, Manufacturing & Prototyping, Materials properties, Nanotechnology, Test procedures

Direct-Write Polymer Nanolithography in Ultra-High Vacuum

The deposition of materials in vacuum is the foundational technology for creating modern electronic circuits; a vacuum being essential both to preserve the cleanliness of the substrate and the deposited materials, and to minimize the creation of defects. Consequently, most deposition techniques, from thermal evaporation to atomic layer deposition, require a high level of vacuum, preferably ultra-high vacuum (UHV), to be used effectively.

Posted in: Briefs, Manufacturing & Prototyping, Electronic equipment, Fabrication, Polymers

Operation and On-Chip Integration of Cavity-QED-Based Detectors for Single Atoms and Molecules

A new experimental platform for studies of transport and quantumlimited measurements of cold, trapped atomic gases was constructed. Using microfabrication processes, a silicon wafer was micromachined to allow for deposition of micrometer-scale electromagnet wires, and for the integration of closely spaced, highly reflective optical mirrors. With this device, nanokelvintemperature atomic gases were produced and placed with nanometer precision within a high-finesse optical resonator. This device was applied to the construction of a cavity optomechanical system with ultracold atomic gases, with the goals of understanding how to conduct quantum-limited measurements of the motion of a macroscopic mechanical object, and characterizing the new phenomena arising in such a hybrid optomechanical quantum system.

Posted in: Briefs, Manufacturing & Prototyping, Measurements, Optics, Storage, Gases, Silicon alloys

Fabrication of Carbon Nanotube Channels on Three- Dimensional Building Blocks

Single-wall carbon nanotubes (SWNTs) are the most attractive material in the fields of nanoscience and nanotechnology due to their chemical, physical, and electrical properties. Carbon nanotubes (CNTs) are being applied in various kinds of nano devices such as transistors, electrodes, sensors, and filters because of the semiconducting, metallic, optical, and structural properties. To date, CNTs are mainly synthesized, grown, and dispersed on a two-dimensional substrate. However, it is not easy to fabricate and manipulate CNTs on a particularly structured substrate for various applications. In the case of CNTs on planar substrates, it is hard to get high conductivity and sensitivity because of physical disconnection and low surface areas due to randomly oriented two-dimensional structure.

Posted in: Briefs, Manufacturing & Prototyping, Fabrication, Nanomaterials, Nanotechnology

Fabrication of Novel Transparent PMMA Composites for Optical Tagging

The emerging threats caused by improvised explosive devices (IEDs) have drastically increased concerns about soldier survivability. The ability to identify “friend vs. foe” of any approaching vehicles clearly, quickly, and from a distance, is invaluable to ensure a soldier’s safety, as well as critical to providing protection of facilities at strategic locations. The current state-of-the-art uses externally applied coatings or markings onto vehicles that are not seen in the visible light spectrum, yet are detectable with the use of an ultraviolet (UV) or infrared (IR) interrogation device. However, coatings can wear off or wash off, and are susceptible to being counterfeited or tempered.

Posted in: Briefs, Manufacturing & Prototyping, Optics, Identification, Composite materials, Polymers, Military vehicles and equipment

Fabrication of Transparent Carbon Nanotube Films for OLED Applications

The process to prepare single-wall carbon nanotube (SWCNT) solutions with a good degree of dispersion of individually isolated SWCNTs and very thin SWCNT bundles was optimized. The SWCNT-dispersion solutions are so stable that they can be stored and used repeatedly for some period of time.

Posted in: Briefs, Manufacturing & Prototyping, Fabrication, Nanomaterials, Durability

Development of Soldier Conformable Antennas Using Conducting Polymers

Soldiers performing dismounted operations in the field use radios that have antennas with a distinct visible signature and can become easy targets. These antennas also tend to snag on other equipment or vegetation, creating a hazard and a distraction to any ongoing operation. Therefore, it has become necessary to develop an antenna that can conform to soldiers and be virtually indistinguishable from a soldier’s body armor.

Posted in: Briefs, Manufacturing & Prototyping, Antennas, Radio equipment, Protective clothing, Military vehicles and equipment