Alternative Manufacturing Meethod for Heaters for Electron Guns by Ink-jet Printing
Navy SBIR FY2013.1

Sol No.: Navy SBIR FY2013.1
Topic No.: N131-023
Topic Title: Alternative Manufacturing Meethod for Heaters for Electron Guns by Ink-jet Printing
Proposal No.: N131-023-0522
Firm: MicroFab Technologies, Inc.
1104 Summit Avenue
Suite 110
Plano, Texas 75074
Contact: Don Hayes
Phone: (972) 578-8076
Web Site: www.
Abstract: We will develop and demonstrate the key elements in a novel alternative method of fabrication of the heaters for dispenser types cathodes. The current methods depend on a wire that may soon not be manufactured anymore. The proposed method, radically alters the manufacturing approach introducing a complete data driven technology that will produce consistent heater elements in a wide range of configuration and will allow quick turnaround for design changes. The technology developed in Phase I will allow the heater designers to go beyond the limitations of current methods in terms of shape and distribution of the heater element within the heater. In Phase I, we will develop new formulation of solutions containing tungsten particles and an associated printhead that can ink-jet dispense the solutions into the desired pattern. The development also includes the process that will convert the printed particles into the conductive traces acting as heating elements. The feasibility of the fabricated heaters will be demonstrated following the stringent battery of tests that are part of the QC process of the current heaters. The long term opportunity is the implementation of the developed technology, materials, equipment and processes into production for a flexible design of low cost and high reliability heating elements.
Benefits: The ultimate deliverables to DOD are improved, more reliable and lower cost heating elements, which are a critical component in the dispenser type cathodes. The technology to be developed will avoid the current supply issues related to the heating elements wires and will expand the capability through a fabrication method that is more consistent and expands the design and manufacturing flexibility. The new technology will allow very flexible configuration of the heating traces leading to more uniform temperature distribution. In contrast to screen printing, ink-jet is a more repeatable process and can e used to generate the heating elements on curved surfaces. The data driven ink-jet process will facilitate a manufacturing environment that can be easily switched from one heater configuration to another and will easily accommodate design changes. It is possible to set-up manufacturing with a real time feedback mechanism where a measured resistance can be used to determine if enough Tungsten particles are deposited. The proposed development of materials, processes and equipment will be transferred to the manufacturers of heater elements. Non-defense applications of the equipment, materials and technology include small heaters for microelectronic mechanical systems (MEMS) and dispensing solutions with large particles for printed electronics, displays, and biomedical applications.