|Nanopowders, Thin Films, and Devices|
nGimat produces doped CeO2 and other mixed metal oxides for application in chemical mechanical polishing (CMP), copper, silver, and solder alloys nanopowders and dispersions for next generation electronic processing, along with nickel and barium titanate nanopowders for capacitors. Chemical mechanical polishing is the preferred technique for precision polishing of semiconductors, optical media, and other surfaces through use of ultra-fine abrasive particles in polishing slurry in a grinding-like process to obtain smooth, flat and defect-free surface finish. Currently, most of the polishing slurries contain Al2O3 and SiO2 nanoparticles, but recently CeO2 has also been introduced for specialty applications. The increased pressure for miniaturization of electronic devices has generated a need for nano-sized metal conductive powders, such as copper and silver. These materials can be used as fillers in conductive paste and inks for ink-jet printing of electronic lines and components. The ultra-fine crystalline metal and ceramic powders (barium titanate and more recently barium strontium titanate, BST) have found use in multi-layer ceramic capacitors because of lowered sintering temperatures and high specific area. Precise control over particle size and stoichiometry is essential in electronic applications.
By using its proprietary NanoSpraySM Combustion Processing technology, nGimat can provide complex and doped metals and oxides with improved size uniformity and controlled stoichiometry for chemical mechanical polishing and capacitor applications. The technology enables one-step production and direct dispersion of metal nanoparticles, simplifying manufacturing requirements and providing protection from oxidation and agglomeration. nGimat is selling research quantities of silver, copper, and BST nanopowders to large producers of conductive pastes and ceramic capacitors for testing and evaluation.
nGimat is developing high-purity nanopowders for pressing and sintering into fully dense, polycrystalline laser host materials with grain size less than 1 µm. Formation of these nanomaterials is desired for production of military and commercial High Energy Laser (HEL) systems. Single crystalline neodymium-doped yttrium-aluminum-garnet (Nd:YAG) is the state of the art in solid-state lasers. However, YAG single crystals have several disadvantages, including high manufacturing cost, limited size and shape, and low Nd concentrations (~1 at%). Sintering nanocrystals into transparent polycrystalline solids will alleviate many of the manufacturing limitations associated with growing YAG single crystals using the Czochralski method. Production of fully dense polycrystals with grain size less than the laser emission wavelength limits the scattering loss associated with polycrystalline materials. In addition, the concentration of luminescent dopant may be increased since this is a non-equilibrium growth process. Despite the fact that many of the applications for solid-state lasers are mature technologies, strong growth (10-25% annual) in demand continues in the microelectronics, cosmetic, medical, pharmaceutical research, nanotechnology, and defense-related industries.