An Additive Manufacturing Method for Sub-Micro Scale Three Dimensional Structures

manufacturing
An Additive Manufacturing Method for Sub-Micro Scale Three Dimensional Structures (GSC-TOPS-177)
Enables the fabrication of sub-micro scale three dimensional structures with a broad range of materials
Overview
NASA Goddard Space Flight Center has developed a substantial advancement in additive manufacturing technology. The newly developed additive manufacturing method eliminates most material restrictions enabling fabrication of sub-micro scale three dimensional structures composed of nearly any material which is compatible with chemical vapor deposition (CVD). Metallic and ceramic materials are among those compatible with CVD. Current technology for the production of micro scale three dimensional structures, such as two photon lithography, is generally limited to the use of photosensitive polymeric materials.

The Technology
The newly developed technology capitalizes on existing stereolithography techniques to fabricate a polymeric scaffold of the desired three dimensional structure employing a photosensitive polymer material. After the scaffold is complete nickel can be deposited onto the structure using a catalyst and a low temperature CVD process, at which point the polymer structure can be dissolved away leaving a nickel shell. Using the resulting nickel shell as yet another scaffold the desired material can be deposited using the appropriate CVD process since the melting point of nickel is 1455 oC. If necessary the nickel can then be preferentially etched away.
NASA Satellite Image of Japan Captured March 11, 2011
Benefits
  • Facilitates the fabrication of sub-micron 3D structures
  • A variety of materials, including metals and ceramics, can be used

Applications
  • Microelectromechanical systems
  • Micro lattice fabrication
  • Improved fill factor for CMOS technology
Technology Details

manufacturing
GSC-TOPS-177
GSC-17485-1
10465281
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