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Enhanced Micromanufacturing System Sees Designers through Thick and Thin

Originally Published MPMN November 2004

INDUSTRY NEWS

Enhanced Micromanufacturing System Sees Designers through Thick and Thin

Corinne Litchfield

A company specializing in microdevice and microsystem fabrication has extended the capabilities of its micromanufacturing process to offer structures with layer thicknesses of 2 to 50 µm. Microfabrica Inc. (Burbank, CA; www.microfabrica.com) enhanced its EFAB micromanufacturing technology to enable designers to create taller microdevices and systems. Micron-precise metal layers can be deposited in large numbers to make three-dimensional microdevices. The thick-layer capability benefits a variety of applications, including ink-jet printhead nozzles, inertial measurement units, and magnetic microsystems.

The EFAB process combines the geometric flexibility of surface micromachining and the high aspect ratio of the LIGA (lithography, electroplating, and molding) technique. EFAB technology goes beyond the single-layer LIGA technique, however, by allowing many tens of layers of various thicknesses to be stacked on top of each other to form three-dimensional microdevices.

“The ability to fabricate thin structures such as springs, cantilevers, and diaphragms within the same device as thicker structures…has always been a problem with conventional micromachining technology. By combining the high-aspect-ratio advantages of LIGA with the geometric flexibility of surface machining, EFAB has become the most versatile microfabrication technology available,” says Chris Bang, vice president of design and applications engineering at Microfabrica.

Microfabrica’s thick-layer process was developed with the support of a Small Business Innovation Research Phase II grant from the National Science Foundation. The capabilities developed under the grant have been integrated with the company’s standard EFAB process and are available to customers for immediate use.


Copyright ©2004 Medical Product Manufacturing News

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