The objectives of this research are (1) to investigate the capability and application of computer-controlled multidirectional three-dimensional ultraviolet-lithography for advanced microfabrication, and (2) to establish a predictive model for the final products from process parameters. The principal investigator has developed an ultraviolet-lithography process incorporating a computer-controlled dynamic stage with tilting and rotational functionalities. The method will be utilized in precise three-dimensional microfabrication to generate slanted, revolving, and combinational patterns up to one or two millimeter height. Since the process employs a submicrometer wavelength light source, its spatial resolution would be as small as one micrometer or less. The fabrication process will be analyzed and a predictive structural model constructed with ray tracing simulation, taking into account refraction and diffraction effects, photochemical reaction, and the dynamic control of the movable stage. As test vehicles, a microfluidic dispensing system and an advanced air-lifted spiral antenna array will be demonstrated.
Successful outcome of the project will significantly impact implementation of advanced lab-on-a-chip type systems in areas of biomedical, microfluidic, radio frequency, microelectronic, and optical research. The inherent batch processing capability of ultraviolet-lithography offers mass productivity and manufacturability. Moreover, the inexpensive system and fabrication cost affords its general laboratory usage with little budgetary constraints. On the educational front, the developed technology will be disseminated in a graduate laboratory course and an on-line course. The on-line educational approach is expected to facilitate globalization in engineering education. Additionally, an emphasis is placed on recruiting minorities and summer outreach programs for junior students from the local area.