The NASA/JPL Contract

General Outline

The name of the project that was being worked on during the practical training semester is titled "Micromachined RF Technology (Manufacturing Process Identification and Evaluation)". The contracting parties are The University of Maryland, Dept. of Mechanical Engineering, and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) - Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL).

The project's aim is to evaluate the manufacturing processes associated with fabricating advanced high-frequency modules composed of a combination of micromachined and electronic solid state components. Evaluation of the manufacturing processes includes identification of the process steps, evaluating compatibility of the necessary processing, cost analysis, and yield analysis.

Process compatibility evaluation is the selection (and if necessary, modification) of sub-processes that can successfully be integrated together in manufacturing. There are several aspects of process compatibility that must be considered:

  • Thermal Different processes require different temperatures. Generally the processes that require higher temperatures must precede those that require lower temperatures.
  • Materials There are many materials, which can not be located adjacent to one another, and in some cases can not be in the same system. Material incompatibilities may result in changing the material or process, and adding additional processing.
  • Manufacturing equipment It is possible that some sub-processes used to fabricate a system are designed for use with differing format parts than other sub-processes.
  • The part of the project covered with this report is to provide detailed information on the process steps needed for the production of micromachined components for high frequency circuits, such as switches, filters and microshielded transmission lines. For this purpose, the manufacturing processes developed by the Radiation Laboratory of the Electrical Engineering and Computer Science Department at The University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, were used as a basis for documentation in form of spreadsheets and graphical illustrations. The processes are still under development and being improved.