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Van Nuys, CA, United States

Embodiments of the present invention provide mesoscale or microscale three-dimensional structures (e.g. components, device, and the like). Embodiments relate to one or more of (1) the formation of such structures which incorporate dielectric material and/or wherein seed layer material used to allow deposition over dielectric material is removed via planarization operations; (2) the formation of such structures wherein masks used for at least some selective patterning operations are obtained through transfer plating of masking material to a surface of a substrate or previously formed layer, and/or (3) the formation of such structures wherein masks used for forming at least portions of some layers are patterned on the build surface directly from data representing the mask configuration, e.g. in some embodiments mask patterning is achieved by selectively dispensing material via a computer controlled inkjet nozzle or array or via a computer controlled extrusion device.

Multilayer structures are electrochemically fabricated on a temporary (e.g. conductive) substrate and are thereafter bonded to a permanent (e.g. dielectric, patterned, multi-material, or otherwise functional) substrate and removed from the temporary substrate. In some embodiments, the structures are formed from top layer to bottom layer, such that the bottom layer of the structure becomes adhered to the permanent substrate, while in other embodiments the structures are formed from bottom layer to top layer and then a double substrate swap occurs. The permanent substrate may be a solid that is bonded (e.g. by an adhesive) to the layered structure or it may start out as a flowable material that is solidified adjacent to or partially surrounding a portion of the structure with bonding occurring during solidification. The multilayer structure may be released from a sacrificial material prior to attaching the permanent substrate or it may be released after attachment.

Some embodiments of the present invention are directed to techniques for building up single layer or multi-layer structures on dielectric or partially dielectric substrates. Certain embodiments deposit seed layer material directly onto substrate materials while other embodiments use an intervening adhesion layer material. Some embodiments use different seed layer materials and/or adhesion layer materials for sacrificial and structural conductive building materials. Some embodiments apply seed layer and/or adhesion layer materials in what are effectively selective manners while other embodiments apply the materials in blanket fashion. Some embodiments remove extraneous depositions (e.g. depositions to regions unintended to form part of a layer) via planarization operations while other embodiments remove the extraneous material via etching operations. Other embodiments are directed to the electrochemical fabrication of multilayer mesoscale or microscale structures which are formed using at least one conductive structural material, at least one conductive sacrificial material, and at least one dielectric material. In some embodiments the dielectric material is a UV-curable photopolymer.

RF and microwave radiation directing or controlling components are provided that may be monolithic, that may be formed from a plurality of electrodeposition operations and/or from a plurality of deposited layers of material, that may include switches, inductors, antennae, transmission lines, filters, hybrid couplers, antenna arrays and/or other active or passive components. Components may include non-radiation-entry and non-radiation-exit channels that are useful in separating sacrificial materials from structural materials. Preferred formation processes use electrochemical fabrication techniques (e.g. including selective depositions, bulk depositions, etching operations and planarization operations) and post-deposition processes (e.g. selective etching operations and/or back filling operations).

Numerous electrochemical fabrication methods and apparatus are provided for producing multi-layer structures (e.g. having meso-scale or micro-scale features) from a plurality of layers of deposited materials using adhered masks (e.g. formed from liquid photoresist or dry film), where two or more materials may be provided per layer where at least one of the materials is a structural material and one or more of any other materials may be a sacrificial material which will be removed after formation of the structure. Materials may comprise conductive materials that are electrodeposited or deposited in an electroless manner. In some embodiments special care is undertaken to ensure alignment between patterns formed on successive layers.

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