Construction of a Force Probe for Characterization of Microscale Features

Award Information
Department of Commerce
National Institute of Standards and Technology
Award Year:
Phase I
Agency Tracking Number:
Solicitation Year:
Solicitation Topic Code:
Solicitation Number:
Small Business Information
InsituTec Inc.
9625-B Vinca Circle, Charlotte, NC, 28213
Hubzone Owned:
Minority Owned:
Woman Owned:
Principal Investigator:
() -
Business Contact:
Shane Woody
(704) 503-6908
Research Institution:
The pressing need exists within industry to accurately measure high aspect ratio microscale structures. For example, diesel injector nozzles are manufactured with microscale holes ranging from 50-200 micrometers in diameter and 3-5 mm depths. One fundamental challenge is to nondestrucvely measure these features in order to validate models, enhance manufacturing processes, and reduce fuel emissions. Current measurement technologies are limited due to probe size (i.e. > 30 micrometers in diameter) and often produce unwanted adhesive forces during the measurement process. The objective of this SBIR program is to develop a 2D high aspect ratio microscale force probe; representing a collaborative effort between InsituTech Inc., a North Carolina based instrumentation manufacturer, and the Center for Precision Metrology at University of North Carolina at Charlotte. The sensing technology developed through this program employs revolutionary concepts in probing technologies which include a high aspect ratio probe generating minimal adhesive forces, providing 7 micrometer contact diameters, 5 mm free lengths and 5 nms sensitivity. COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS: InsituTec's commercialization efforts will focus on meeting the industry need for microscale probing technology. It is envisaged that the first products will include gauge heads with microscale probes retrofitted to the quill of standard CMMs. Clearly, once the design tools have been thoroughly evaluated it will be possible to rapidly adapt these designs to meet the demands from other customers. There are also a number of other industries that could use microscale probes for quality inspection. For example, these may include diesel injectors, chip vias, turbine blade cooling holes, and optical fibers. Experiences gained by these projects will be used to develop OEM products to be marketed for general application.

* information listed above is at the time of submission.

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