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8 May 2018 Thin-film coating of vibro-fluidized microparticles via R. F. Magnetron sputtering
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Recent improvements in microparticle synthesis and handling have prompted new research into the engineering and fabrication of single and multilayered microspheres through traditional physical and chemical vapor depositions. At the University of Delaware, we have developed a custom batch coating process utilizing a vibro-fluidized mixing vessel to deposit thin-films onto the surface of microparticle substrates through R.F. magnetron sputtering. This process opens up a number of design possibilities for single and multilayered microsphere technologies that can be used to improve the optical performance of several optical filtering applications. Through the use of custom design and simulation software, we have optimized a number of filter designs and validated these findings through commercial software. Specifically, we have aimed to improve upon the mass extinction performance seen by traditional materials in the long wave infrared spectrum (LWIR, λ=8-12μm). In order to do this, we have run a series of experiments aimed at creating ultra-lightweight metallic hollow-spheres. Aluminum thin-films have been successfully deposited onto a number of substrates including hollow glass microspheres, high density polyethylene microspheres, and polystyrene foam spheres. By depositing the thin-films onto polymer substrates we have been able to remove the solid core after deposition through a thermal decomposition or chemical dissolution process, in an effort to reduce particle mass and improve mass extinction performance of the filter. A quantum cascade laser measurement system has been used to characterize the optical response of these fabricated aluminum hollow-spheres and have largely agreed with the expected simulated results.
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Nicholas J. Hudak, Benjamin S. Garrett, Mathew Zablocki, Timothy Creazzo, Ahmed Sharkawy, Brendan G. DeLacy, and Mark S. Mirotznik "Thin-film coating of vibro-fluidized microparticles via R. F. Magnetron sputtering", Proc. SPIE 10639, Micro- and Nanotechnology Sensors, Systems, and Applications X, 106392M (8 May 2018);

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