Project: Mass Manufacturing of novel 3D shaped Stainless Steel and Gold Micro Components based on LIGA technologies

_x000D_In this project, five innovative world’s leading LIGA and precision mechanics companies (MIMOTEC SA, MICROWORKS GmbH, FEINMETALL GmbH, NANOSCRIBE GmbH and ELEOSS GmbH) and two of the international most renowned research institutions in the field (KIT and EMPA) form a consortium to work towards making metal microparts available for a multi-million Euro market. FEINMETALL GmbH and MIMOTEC SA, are long-standing innovation champions and are among the largest manufacturers on the world market in their respective fields of test equipment for microelectronics and precisions watch components. Their commitment in the project ensures that the project results will be implemented in innovative products that can quickly be established in the market._x000D_Within the project, we will add new materials, namely stainless steel and hard gold, full 3D geometries and mass replication techniques to the already outstanding technological capabilities of LIGA (german acronym for lithography and galvanoforming) in order to address the market’s needs. Three prototype parts have been identified to demonstrate the achieved advancements at the end of the project to enable a rapid market entry: a micro-spring that does not suffer from creep, a micro-cam that shows significantly reduced wear and a micro-probe tip that will be the basis of never reached densities in electronic chip testing. _x000D__x000D_The anticipated project structure will be formed by a FAB track that concentrates on research in fabrication techniques including reliability aspects of the prototypes and a LAB track that concentrates on selected fundamental R&D aspects, see Fig 1. The prerequisites to this project from the commercial point of view have been worked out by MIMOTEC by making UV-LIGA cost effective and reliable, by MICROWORKS doing the same for x-ray-LIGA and by NANOSCRIBE by introducing full 3D laser patterning capability on the micrometer scale. The prerequisites from the basic research point of view have been worked out by EMPA as well as KIT. EMPA made electroplated stainless steel available on the market through their spin-off company ELEOSS and provides the necessary equipment and know how to analyse the material properties and correlate them to the deposition parameters. KIT worked out a new fabrication scheme to increase the throughput of LIGA parts so that mass markets can be supplied. Finally KIT’s capability of correlating the mechanical properties of microparts to their nanostructure forms the last prerequisite to lift the commercial potential of this project. In this way current material limits (only soft gold and nickel alloys are availaible), batch size restrictions to 100.000, and geometry limits (only 2.5D available) will be overcome to enable penetration into mass markets of ultraprecision parts, which are beyond the current CO market of the watch industry and the electronic test device industry._x000D__x000D_The industrial Ps of the consortium aim to combine new materials with lithography approaches not available on the market yet to set up a value chain across the Ps. In this value chain, NANOSCRIBE will be able to commercially offer 3D laser lithography systems for the fabrication of polymer molds for LIGA deposition of complex microparts. MIMOTEC and MICROWORKS will adapt their lithographic patterning processes to the newly developed and improved materials. ELEOSS and MICROWORKS will be able to set up productions for stainless steel respectively gold micro-components and act as suppliers to MIMOTEC (watch components) and FEINMETALL (wafer probing devices) but also for industrial customers in other fields of activity. The companies MIMOTEC and FEINMETALL are internationally leading players in their respective markets, where there is a proven demand for innovative new approaches. This ensures that approach proposed by the MASSMICRO project can be turned into successful products within short time._x000D__x000D__x000D__x000D__x000D_

Acronym MASSMICRO (Reference Number: 6921)
Duration 01/05/2012 - 30/04/2015
Project Topic The MASSMICRO LIGA process is unique in three ways: micro-parts in unprecedented 3D geometry, in new stainless steel and hard gold materials and at economic batch sizes over 1.000.000 parts through mass replication will become possible, thereby enabling new products for the involved companies.
Network Eurostars
Call Eurostars Cut-Off 7

Project partner

Number Name Role Country
8 Sondervermögen Grossforschung beim KIT Partner Germany
8 Mimotec SA Partner Switzerland
8 Microworks GmbH Partner Germany
8 Swiss Federal Laboratories for Materials Science and Technology Partner Switzerland
8 Nanoscribe GmbH Partner Germany
8 Karlsruhe Institute of Technology KIT-WBM Partner Germany
8 Eleoss GmbH Coordinator Switzerland
8 Feinmetall GmbH Partner Germany