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Optomec awarded NASA contract for 3D printing of electronics by ALSS
June 26, 2017
Source: ASM International
Optomec, Albuquerque, N.M., announces that the company has been awarded a NASA SBIR contract for the further development of an adaptive laser sintering system (ALSS) for electronics. The success of this endeavor will enable electronic circuitry to be printed onto a wider variety of temperature-sensitive substrates, expanding its use for production applications. The fully automated system will also enable printed circuitry to be repaired or manufactured with minimal human intervention, paving the way for its use in long-duration NASA space missions.
ALSS can be a key solution to NASA's challenge of in-space, on-demand manufacturing capabilities to support the unique challenges of long-duration human spaceflight. This requires an automated adaptive in-line quality control system along with the associated manufacturing process.
Working in conjunction with Harding University in Searcy, Arkansas, this project will enhance Optomec laser sintering technology to a fully automated curing system for printed electronics. The Optomec-Harding team seeks to enhance the localized laser sintering concept by developing an ALSS with in-situ automated adjustment of laser power and processing time. This will pave the way for this advanced technology in the next generation of human space exploration. It will also expand production of printed electronics to a broader range of temperature-sensitive substrates used in commercial applications.
According to Edmond Wilson, Professor of Chemistry at Harding University, "Successful development of laser-assisted drying and sintering of 3D printed electronics will greatly reduce the production time for 3D printed electronics devices and substantially reduce the need for human intervention. We look forward to mentoring student researchers and helping them jump-start their careers by tackling cutting-edge technology problems."
Optomec's patented Aerosol Jet Systems for printed electronics and LENS (laser engineered net shaping) 3D printers for metal components are used by industry to reduce product cost and improve performance. Together, these unique printing solutions work with the broadest spectrum of functional materials, ranging from electronic inks to structural metals and even biological matter. Optomec has more than 300 marquee customers around the world, targeting production applications in the Electronics, Energy, Life Sciences, and Aerospace industries.
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