NRL Develops Novel Mesoscopic Laser Direct Writing Technique

1/31/1999 - 26-99r
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Researchers at the Naval Research Laboratory (NRL) have developed a novel laser-based approach for the direct writing of mesoscopic electronic devices and chemical sensors. The Matrix Assisted Pulsed Laser Evaporation Direct Write (MAPLE-DW) process enables rapid prototyping of electronic devices for the fabrication of electronic subsystems on any surface. The MAPLE-DW deposition system ultimately reduces the long delay-time between concept, design and production of electronic devices.

This work is sponsored by the Office of Naval Research (ONR) and the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) Mesoscopic Integrated Conformal Electronics (MICE) program. The development of a tool which incorporates the MAPLE-DW process and the tool's commercial applications is being directed by Potomac Photonics, Inc., Lanham, MD.

The research team consists of Drs. Alberto Pique', Douglas Chrisey, and Andrew McGill, of NRL's Materials Science and Technology Division.

According to Dr. Pique', "the NRL process was developed by combining two laser based processes, Laser Induced Forward Transfer (LIFT) and MAPLE. This new technique allows the unmasked deposition of numerous classes of materials in the production of electronic devices. We have demonstrated the MAPLE- DW technique in air and room temperature for a wide range of materials including metals, oxide ceramics, polymers, and polymer composites. Using a computer controlled stage, the MAPLE-DW technique has achieved sub 10 4m feature resolutions. By simply changing the donor substrate or "ribbon," multilayer structures composed of different types of materials were also produced by this technique. These multilayer structures are used to form the basic thin film electronic circuit elements such as resistors, capacitors, cross-over lines, inductors, etc. In addition to direct writing any material, the laser in the MAPLE-DW tool ran perform other tasks such as: precleaning and/or micromachining of substrate surfaces or deposited materials, drilling vias between different layers, trim components in real-time, and laser annealing surfaces," concludes Dr. Pique'.

The research team has constructed several MAPLE-DW systems to deposit materials under different deposition conditions, e.g., laser wavelengths, and maintains sophisticated analysis equipment to characterize microelectronic device of chemical sensor performance.

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The U.S. Naval Research Laboratory provides the advanced scientific capabilities required to bolster our country's position of global naval leadership. The Laboratory, with a total complement of approximately 2,500 personnel, is located in southwest Washington, D.C., with other major sites at the Stennis Space Center, Miss., and Monterey, Calif. NRL has served the Navy and the nation for over 90 years and continues to advance research further than you can imagine. For more information, visit the NRL website or join the conversation on Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube.

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