Polymer Synthesis, Processing, and Characterization
Sandia National Laboratories has extensive experience in all aspects of polymer synthesis (e.g., ionic, radical, atom transfer, group transfer, ROMP, emulsion) and characterization (compositional, molecular weight, thermophysical, surface area, electrical, and optical).
- Polymeric materials and processes are being developed for a variety of applications including:
- Photo- and thermally responsive smart materials;
- Materials for microlithography, dielectrics, and microelectronic devices and sensors;
- Membranes, catalysts, and catalytic supports;
- Molecular-level composites and reinforcements;
- Reversible and/or nonshrinking encapsulants;
- Monolayer deposition of wear-resistant films for polysilicon microelectromechanical systems (MEMS) devices;
- Understanding relationships between interfacial glassy adhesive chemistry and joint strength and fracture toughness;
- Supercritical fluid cleaning of polysilicon surfaces; and
- Understanding how moisture interacts with silane primer layers to affect interfacial strength.
Our program is directed toward engineering these materials to impart optimal physical and electrical properties. Companion modeling efforts provide predictive capabilities and extensive characterization techniques to elucidate polymer structure and thermal, mechanical, and electrical properties. We have frequent interactions with U.S. industries with interest in these new materials.
Microelectronic chip encapsulated in non-shrinking sol-gel copolymer.
Surfaces and Interfaces:
- Wetting, surface energy, and interfacial tension measurements.
- Environmentally benign, supercritical extraction of surface microactuators and microsensors.
- Tailoring interfacial interactions with self-assembling monolayers.
Electronic microchip potted in removable polyurethane encapsulant.
Encapsulants and Coatings:
- Design and preparation of novel, thermally cleavable/assembling dendrimers and hyperbranched molecules for chemical sensors, molecular recognition devices, chemical-delivery systems, storage devices, or separations devices.
- Synthesis of tribologically robust macromolecules for enhancing MEMS device reliability.
- Polymer derivatization, i.e., sol-gel functionalized polymers for molecular-level and microscopic composites for use as adhesives, encapsulants, etc.
- Synthesis of modified sol-gel monomers for novel applications such as membranes, sensor supports, environmentally benign and/or nonshrinking encapsulants.
- Development and formulation of foams for unique applications, including aqueous, one-container and instant, microcellular, removable, and standard encapsulation foams.
Films for Electronics:
- Preparation of chemically amplified photoresist materials for next-generation, 157-nm lithographic imaging of resist patterns.
- Preparation of polysilanes and other photosensitive organics for microsystem photonics.
- Design of specialty, low-k dielectric polymers for microelectronic applications.
- Organometallic chemistry for synthesis of polymerization initiators, and organic-chemistry expertise for synthesis of specialty organic and hybrid polymers. Molecular-level characterization of polymer degradation by nuclear magnetic resonance isotope and relaxation studies.
- Glove boxes and high vacuum lines for handling air- and moisture-sensitive compounds and polymerizations.
- Gel permeation chromatography with light-scattering detector for absolute molecular-weight determinations.
- Rheometrics instrument for viscoelastic property determinations.
- Surface and interface characterization via contact angle measurements and plate tensiometry
- Differential scanning calorimetry, thermal gravimetric analysis, thermal gravimetric analysis/mass spectroscopy and dynamic mechanical analysis of material thermal and mechanical properties.
- Structure determination of organic and hybrid materials by solution and solid-state nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR), infrared, ultraviolet/visible/near infrared, x-ray photon and secondary ion mass spectroscopies, gas chromatography, gas chromatography/mass spectroscopy among others.
- Characterization of polymer morphology by small-angle x-ray scattering, wide-angle x-ray scattering, small-angle neutron scattering, neutron reflectivity, scanning electron microscopy, and transmission electron microscopy, among others.
- Feature article in Macromolecular Chemistry and Physics on structure determination of grafted-polymer layers by neutron reflection.
- Patent filed for thin-layer microlithography imaging process using radiation at strongly attenuated wavelengths
- Patent issued for novel cupric, chloride-induced, chlorosilane synthetic method; these are key materials for functional polymeric materials, coupling agents, and microelectronic resists.
- Developed novel method for profiling the cross-link density within thin-film thermosets and coupling-agent films.
Contacts: Jim Aubert, (505)844-4481, email@example.com