SBIR Phase II: ACIM deBonder: Thin Film Integrity Testing Using Controlled Microcavitation
This Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Phase II project will develop a new method of determining how strong a thin film anchors to a substrate. The ACIM deBonder(trade mark)uses controlled microcavitation to directly reveal a thin film's adhesion strength by subjecting it to controlled erosion. ACIM is a means of constructively controlling acoustic microcavitation. Substrates are not harmed. The ACIM deBonder(trade mark) will be applicable to any type of film or coating that can be eroded in a controlled manner by cavitation. It is essentially a nondestructive method that only uses small areas of films. No special sample preparation is needed and the method is capable of in situ inspection. The ACIM deBonder tool will be developed for use in microelectronic manufacture. Semiconductor chips rely on the various film layers of their constitution to bond reliably. Beyond semiconductors the deBonder could be useful in optical coatings, and all contexts involving surface modification involving films.
The broader impacts of this project will be a new method of determining the adhesion strength of thin films; it is expected to advance the science of thin film engineering. The controlled erosion of ACIM can itself be used to create nascent surfaces in preparation for thin film deposition. Ultimately, the principle of ACIM deBonder (trade mark) relies controlled caviational erosion in fact it relies on controlling the very fundamental process of phase change, the control of nucleation--the ability to convert a liquid into a gas in the vicinity of a solid phase. This should have much wider applications in avariety of chemical processing, e.g. in the control of the boiling processes in chemical and nuclear reactors. The study of this acoustically mediated nucleation control could form an active field/area of research and education.
Small Business Information at Submission:
6923 Redbud Drive Manhattan, KS 66503
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