STTR Phase II: A Lithographic Gelcasting Process using Nanoparticulates: An Enabling Technology for Mass Production of Microdevices with Nanoscale Features

Award Information
National Science Foundation
Award Year:
Phase II
Award Id:
Agency Tracking Number:
Solicitation Year:
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Small Business Information
301 Enterprise Dr, Philipsburg, PA, 16866
Hubzone Owned:
Minority Owned:
Woman Owned:
Principal Investigator:
Jesse Shrock
(814) 342-5898
Business Contact:
Jesse Shrock
(814) 342-5898
Research Institution:
Pennsylvania State University- University Park
Brain Deforce
110 Technology Center Building
University Park, PA, 16802 7000
(814) 324-5898
Nonprofit college or university
This Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) Phase II project will develop and commercialize a novel Lithographic Gelcasting (LGC) manufacturing process for microdevices that is amenable for economical volume production. Molds will be made using photolithography and filled with nanoparticulate materials. The resulting parts will then be sintered and the photoresist removed. The objectives of the proposed work are to develop the nanoparticulate casting process into a robust, repeatable, and high-yield manufacturing process for mass production, through the use of statistical process models that relate the manufacturing process parameters to desired outcomes, and determine the range of process capability and design space as it relates to manufacturing and design attributes such as feature size and geometry, achievable tolerances, process yield, and manufacturing costs. This effort will be conducted on known client/partner designs so that actual components will be produced for an end application while the process is being developed. The motivating application for this work is the fabrication of microsurgical instruments, a class of devices that is quite challenging from the perspective of feature size, material, and physical properties. The proposed manufacturing method will impact many types of devices and systems that will benefit from attractive material properties and mass production capability. If successful the proposed manufacturing methods have the potential to impact surgical instruments used in procedures as disparate as laparoscopy and its endoscopic or transluminal variants, neurosurgery, robotic-assisted surgery, flexible endoscopy such as colonoscopy, ophthalmology including vitreoretinal surgery, transluminal vascular procedures, and biopsy. In 2004 surgical and medical instruments comprised an approximately $24 billion industry. Millions of minimally invasive surgical procedures are performed annually in the U.S., where individual disposable instruments typically cost $100 - $3,000. Other industries requiring three dimensional precision parts could also be impacted. Besides the commercial potential the success of this enterprise could impact the economy of the local community in Central Pennsylvania.

* information listed above is at the time of submission.

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