New Photosensitive Dielectric Materials for Microelectronic Devices
Ultra-low dielectric constant insulators are needed in electronics devices. New, positive-tone, aquesous base developable permanent dielectrics have been investigated and demonstrated. The mechanical, electrical and chemical properties have been characterized and shown to be excellent for cured films. Ultra-high sensitivity, aqueous develop, positive-tone dielectrics have been created by using a chemically amplified photochemical reaction. The dielectric constant of the high sensitivity material is exceptionally low.
Transient Polymers for Creating Self-immolative devices, embedded Air-Gaps and Porous Materials
New materials and processes have been created for fabrication of transient devices (disappear when triggered), embedding air-isolation in electronic and optical devices. Air encapsulated and porous structures provide mechanically compliant, low capacitance interconnects. Air is the lowest dielectric constant and loss available and provides mechanical compliance to releave stress in key areas.
Design and Fabrication of MEMS Packages
New approaches to the design and fabrication of low-cost MEMS packages have been demonstated. The packages leverage low-cost integrated circuit packaging in a unique way where the MEMS device is temporily tranformed to replicate the robustness of an integrated circuit. Lead-frame and ball grid array MEMS packages can be formed in volume.
Other projects include electroless copper plating, rapid microwave processing, and novel interconnection materials.
Room Temperature Ionic Liquids
Room temperature ionic liquids provide high conductivity, wide electrochemical stability, and zero vapor pressure. New ionic liquids are simple to produce and can be used as electrolytes in batteries and for the deposition of metals (e.g. sodium, lithium, copper, aluminum). In particular, sodium and lithium metal batteries are of interest. In addition, ionic liquids are also being used as the absorber in a new absorption refrigeration cycle. The first fluorocarbon/ionic liquid absorption refrigeration cycle has been designed, demonstrated and modeled.
Anionic Membranes and Fuel Cells
Direct methanol, anionic conducting fuel cells have the potential to overcome many of the problems associated with acid based fuel cells, namely the use of platinum, high fuel cross over, and need for complex water management. New ionomers and membranes have been created to enable the alkaline fuel cell. New concepts in direct methanol fuel cells have also been created. Hybrid acid/alkaline fuel cells use many of the advantages of each of the technologies and can virtually eliminate the need for external water management.