The research objective of this award is to develop a new manufacturing process, Laser-driven Micro-Transfer Printing (LMTP), that enables the facile transfer of conventionally fabricated micro- and nanostructures from their handle or growth substrate to a functional substrate. It exploits the difference in the response of a printable (microstructure) ink and the stamp carrying it to a laser pulse to create a thermal mismatch strain at the stamp-ink interface. This energy stored in this mismatch strain drives the release of the ink from the stamp and its transfer to a receiving substrate. Using experimental observations and computational modeling, this research will seek to understand and characterize the thermo-mechanical phenomena involved in the process. This knowledge will be used to optimize the process elements (e.g., transfer stamp geometry and material) and parameters to allow for low-temperature, robust process behavior. Project deliverables include published models, knowledge and characterization of the LMTP process, a computerized manufacturing tool with an instrumented print head for the LMTP process, demonstrations of three-dimensional integrated circuit (3-D IC) packaging and printed multi-layer micro-electromechanical systems (MEMS), engineering student education, and engineering research experiences for undergraduate students.
If successful, the project will provide a facile and efficient manufacturing pathway for realizing material-scale heterogeneous functional integration ? the controlled inserting of microscopic functional devices at the precise locations of the desired function. This type of capability is critical to emerging technologies such as flexible electronics, 3-D IC packaging and integrated micro-electromechanical systems. Graduate and undergraduate engineering students will benefit through classroom modules developed within this project as well as through involvement in the research. Efforts to motivate high school students to science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) careers will benefit from the contributions that this project will make to high-school summer camps.