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High-Volume Additive Manufacturing of Highly-Miniaturized Metal Devices
Keywords: Additive Manfacturing, MEMS, Millimeter wave
MICA Freeform (a.k.a EFAB) is a unique and mature manufacturing technology for fabricating complex metal devices at the micro and millimeter scale. The technology was invented at the University of Southern California, developed with DARPA funding, and commercialized by Microfabrica Inc. MICA Freeform combines aspects of additive manufacturing (AM) technologies and semiconductor processing. Design is performed using standard 3D CAD, and fabrication—involving three basic steps (selective deposition, blanket deposition, and planarization)—is performed in a cleanroom on wafers. Devices range from relatively simple components with tolerances in the range of +/- 2 microns, to mechanisms such as gear trains with dozens of independently-moving parts which are fabricated monolithically, with little or no assembly. MICA Freeform is the first AM process routinely used for high-volume production, and some challenges in developing high-throughput AM processes will be discussed. The technology is also one of the few AM processes to fabricate structures directly from metal. Applications range from millimeter-wave passive components to probes for semiconductor testing, and from military fuzing devices to minimally-invasive surgical instruments and implants.
Adam Cohen, CEO
innoNovo LLC
Dallas, TX

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