Digital Microfabrication by Laser Forward Transfer

Digital microfabrication processes are non-lithographic techniques ideally capable of directly generating patterns and structures of functional materials for the rapid prototyping of electronic, optical and sensor devices. Laser Direct-Write is an example of digital microfabrication that offers unique advantages and capabilities. A key advantage of laser direct-write techniques is their compatibility with a wide range of materials, surface chemistries and surface morphologies. The Naval Research Laboratory (NRL) has developed various laser-based forward transfer processes ranging from the non-phase transformative direct printing of complex suspensions or inks to the "lase-and-place" of entire semiconductor devices. These processes have been demonstrated in the fabrication of a wide variety of microelectronic elements such as interconnects, passives, antennas, sensors, power sources and embedded circuits. Recently, laser direct-write of thin film-like structures with excellent lateral resolution and thickness uniformity using metallic nano-inks has also been demonstrated. The high degree of control in size and shape achievable was applied to the digital microfabrication of 3-dimensional stacked assemblies and also MEMS-like structures. Overall, laser forward transfer is perhaps the most flexible digital microfabrication process available in terms of materials versatility, substrate compatibility and range of speed, scale and resolution. This talk will describe the unique advantages and capabilities of laser forward transfer, discuss its applications and explore its role in the future of digital microfabrication. This work was sponsored by the Office of Naval Research.