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Additive Manufacturing of metal Plus Insulator Structures with sub-mm Features


Lead Center:GSFC
NASA is interested in investigating additive manufactured structures combining metals and insulators demonstrating multiple layers of 10-500 um lines and spaces, 200 um thick insulator layers, and 200 um diameter blind vias on 400 um centers capable of withstanding ~800 V between layers. Expected Deliverables: Fabrication of a small area, few cm2, micro-well detector with 200 um diameter holes, 200 um deep, on 400 um centers that operates up to ~800 V. Demonstration of scalability to large, ~1 m2, area. Mission Traceability: The Advanced Energetic Pair Telescope (AdEPT), a medium energy gamma-ray polarimeter. Beyond the initial medium-energy gamma-ray instrument application, NASA foresees a wide range of further scientific space instruments enabled by additive manufacturing (3-D printing) that combines metals and insulators with sub-mm feature sizes. Possibilities include fabrication of electro-mechanical structures for ionization detectors, mass spectrometers, charged particle detectors et cetera for both small and large scale space missions. In addition, this is a generic technology which would also be suitable for fabrication of commercial grade, micro-scale electronics. State of the Art: Additive manufacturing with metals or insulators (plastics) is advancing rapidly. SOA is limited in feature size, inability to combine metals and insulators, and surface smoothness needed for high voltage applications. 3-D additive manufacturing that combines insulators and conductors is being pursued by several entities. Combining metals and insulators with sub-mm features would provide significant improvements in performance and size of the micro-well detectors for AdEPT. Current micro-well fabrication using laser micro-machining requires RIE post processing to eliminate residue from laser ablation that leads to high voltage breakdown in the micro-wells.
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