Epoxy Micro Components Create New Design Opportunities
Nov 06 2006
innovative manufacturer, Tecan, by employing SU8 - a highly-versatile epoxy. Building on the success of its Photo Electro Formed (PEF) nickel micro-parts, the Weymouth-based specialist this month shipped an order for 30 million epoxy micro-parts - in a single test tube!
SU-8 is a thick, near-UV epoxy and is increasingly being used as an alternative to Photo Electro Formed (PEF) nickel for micro-parts as it offers high chemical, thermal and mechanical stability - advantages which, for example, make it ideal for bio-science applications. The company can produce parts as pure SU8 epoxy, or as hybrid microstructures, manufactured from various material elements, including metals and epoxy, to enable new functionality such as integration with optoelectronic and micro-fluidic devices.
SU8 parts can be manufactured with dimensions in the micron range, with sub-micron tolerances possible. The company can produce ultra-accurate three-dimensional parts where 'holes' and 'lands' may be produced up to ten times thinner than their own height - an aspect ratio of 10:1. This allows the production of any combination of narrow holes, or lands, in deep substrates in close proximity. The company points out that laser or micro-milling techniques are capable of similar ratio levels, but they do
not necessarily produce smooth wall surfaces and do not always lend themselves to volume production in the same way as Photo Electro Forming.
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