A new process chain for producing bulk metallic glass replication masters with micro- and nano-scale features

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Authors

Colleges, School and Institutes

External organisations

  • University of Malta, Faculty of Engineering
  • University of Bradford
  • Cardiff University

Abstract

A novel process chain for serial production of polymer-based devices incorporating both micro- and nano-scale features is proposed. The process chain is enabled by the use of Zr-based bulk metallic glasses (BMG) to achieve the necessary level of compatibility and complementarity between its component technologies. It integrates two different technologies, namely laser ablation and focused ion beam (FIB) milling for micro-structuring and sub-micron patterning, respectively, thus to fabricate inserts incorporating different length scale functional features. Two alternative laser sources, namely nano-second (NS) and pico-second (PS) lasers, were considered as potential candidates for the first step in this master-making process chain. The capabilities of the component technologies together with some issues associated with their integration were studied. To validate the replication performance of the produced masters, a Zr-based BMG insert was used to produce a small batch of micro-fluidic devices by micro-injection moulding. Furthermore, an experimental study was also carried out to determine whether it would be possible by NS laser ablation to structure the Zr-based BMG workpieces with a high surface integrity whilst retaining the BMG’s non-crystalline morphology. Collectively, it was demonstrated that the proposed process chain could be a viable fabrication route for mass production of polymer devices incorporating different length scale features.

Details

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)523-543
Number of pages21
JournalThe International Journal of Advanced Manufacturing Technology
Volume76
Issue number1-4
Early online date5 Sep 2014
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2015

Keywords

  • Laser ablation . Focused ion beam milling . Bulk metallicglasses . Process chains . Function and length scale integration . Micro-injection moulding