NASA SBIR 2017 Solicitation


PROPOSAL NUMBER: 171 H7.01-9646
SUBTOPIC TITLE: In-Space Manufacturing of Electronics and Avionics
PROPOSAL TITLE: Adaptive Laser Sintering System for In-space Printed Electronics

SMALL BUSINESS CONCERN (Firm Name, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Optomec Design Co
13170B Central Ave SE Suite 310
Albuquerque, NM 87109 - 5841
(505) 761-8250

PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR/PROJECT MANAGER (Name, E-mail, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Dr Michael J Renn
2575 University Ave., #135
St. Paul, MN 55114 - 1069
(651) 641-2850

CORPORATE/BUSINESS OFFICIAL (Name, E-mail, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Mr David Ramahi
13170B Central Ave SE Suite 310
Albuquerque, NM 87109 - 5841
(505) 314-1239

Estimated Technology Readiness Level (TRL) at beginning and end of contract:
Begin: 1
End: 4

Technology Available (TAV) Subtopics
In-Space Manufacturing of Electronics and Avionics is a Technology Available (TAV) subtopic that includes NASA Intellectual Property (IP). Do you plan to use the NASA IP under the award?

TECHNICAL ABSTRACT (Limit 2000 characters, approximately 200 words)
The goal of this project is to enhance the Optomec Aerosol Jet(R) technology for additive manufacturing by introduction of an Adaptive Laser Sintering System (ALSS) module to enable a fully automated system for printed electronics. The Optomec-Harding team seeks to reduce the localized laser sintering concept to practice by developing ALSS with in-situ automated adjustment of laser power and processing time. ALSS will include a laser for sintering with sensors to monitor the process so that any flaws in the printed electronics circuitry can be repaired with minimal human intervention. The benefit will be two-fold: it will enable Optomec, Inc. to expand its commercial applications of the Aerosol Jet technology in printed electronics industry, and to pave the way for the use of this advanced technology in the next generation of human space exploration. The success of this endeavor will be of vital importance to the NASA's in-space, on-demand manufacturing capabilities to support the unique challenges of long-duration human spaceflight. The developed automated adaptive in-line quality control system with ALSS is also applicable to that required for long-duration human space missions with minimal need for astronaut intervention, when printing conformal electronics and sensors onto flexible substrates of various geometrical complexities using the Aerosol Jet technology. The liquid metal nanoparticle (NP) inks as printed are not conductive enough for required circuit functionality; they must be transformed to solid metal path by a sintering at an elevated temperature. To reduce sintering time and exposure of the substrate to damaging temperatures, localized laser sintering has been shown to be promising. The challenge to commercialization of laser sintering is controlling the laser power and processing time required for effective sintering of metal NP inks while avoiding thermal damage to substrate, which will be addressed by the ALSS.

POTENTIAL NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)
After the successful design, test and implementation of ALSS, the science and technology of laser sintering will be better understood for controllable adaptive operations. It provides a key solution to NASA's challenge of in-space, on-demand manufacturing capabilities to support the unique challenges of long-duration human spaceflight, which requires an automated adaptive in-line quality control system along with the manufacturing process. The reduction in both time and manpower with modularization of the process will allow better integration of a prototype instrument to be installed for demonstration on ISS. NASA can use this ALSS module at NASA research centers to compare and evaluate the advantages of printing electronics using different direct-write technologies, whether it is the Aerosol Jet or inkjet or other metal NP ink dispensing methods or plasma jet printing technology.

POTENTIAL NON-NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)
While the Aerosol Jet(R) technology is changing the way engineers and scientists design and develop electronic, biomedical, and mechanical systems, its applicability in printed electronics is mainly limited by the sintering process when the substrate materials must not be damaged by the elevated temperature, especially when the conventional thermal oven is used. The success of ALSS development will enable sintering printed metal NP inks on many low-temperature substrates that have been impossible with oven sintering, because the transient laser power is applied to a very small spot with a very short duration which minimizes the heat-affected zone. Thus, the Aerosol Jet system with the ALSS enhancement will tremendously increase its production capability and market share in printed electronics industry. On the other hand, the knowledge gained via ALSS development can be utilized in other in-line monitoring and control subsystem development for future system enhancement, which is also aimed at increasing the scopes of Aerosol Jet(R) potential commercial applications.

TECHNOLOGY TAXONOMY MAPPING (NASA's technology taxonomy has been developed by the SBIR-STTR program to disseminate awareness of proposed and awarded R/R&D in the agency. It is a listing of over 100 technologies, sorted into broad categories, of interest to NASA.)
Analytical Methods
Avionics (see also Control and Monitoring)
Circuits (including ICs; for specific applications, see e.g., Communications, Networking & Signal Transport; Control & Monitoring, Sensors)
In Situ Manufacturing
Manufacturing Methods
Microfabrication (and smaller; see also Electronics; Mechanical Systems; Photonics)
Process Monitoring & Control
Processing Methods

Form Generated on 04-19-17 12:59