Burlington, MA, United States
Burlington, MA, United States
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The invention pertains to hardware such as cutting tools with improved performance, wear-resistance and durability made from sintered polycrystalline aluminum nitride based ceramic composites containing secondary or dispersed phases for enhanced toughness. The articles of this invention provide good hardness, toughness, chemical inertness, thermal stability, lubricity, wear-resistance, and the ability to operate in the presence of liquid coolants, yielding good surface finish and long lifetime. The cutting tools of this invention are applicable to a wide range of industrial, biomedical, commercial and other applications.


An aluminum oxynitride-based plasma reactor for processing of semiconductor substrates is provided. A method for making an aluminum oxynitride reactor components is also provided. A method for processing a semiconductor substrate in an aluminum oxynitride based plasma reactor is also provided.


Patent
Surmet Corp. | Date: 2014-01-10

A high performance transparent polycrystalline ceramic material is provided. The transparent polycrystalline ceramic material has a nitrogen-containing isotropic lattice structure and having 80% optical transmission at a wavelength between 3.86 and 4.30 microns through said material at 11 mm of thickness.


Grant
Agency: Department of Defense | Branch: Navy | Program: SBIR | Phase: Phase I | Award Amount: 80.00K | Year: 2015

In this Phase I, Surmet proposes to demonstrate the feasibility of producing near net shaped conformal window blanks from its spinel material. Surmet has produced ALON? domes and windows in a wide variety of sizes and shapes including parts with gentle and complex curvatures, and will apply the same processes to its spinel material.
Surmet utilizes a sinter/HIP process to produce its spinel, which results in a material with a dramatically higher strength than hot pressing. Surmet has used this process to deliver over 1,000 spinel lenses to a major defense contractor for their targeting pods. However, inclusions typically found in our spinel material have limited its application.
Surmet, in an effort to scale-up the spinel process, have already made process improvements that results in a dramatic reduction in the inclusions in our spinel. These improvements combined with our ALON processing knowledge, will allow Surmet to produce near net shaped, high strength, conformal spinel windows. In Phase II, the process will be scaled up to produce multiple uncracked, fully dense spinel window blanks per program requirements.


Grant
Agency: Department of Defense | Branch: Navy | Program: SBIR | Phase: Phase II | Award Amount: 599.99K | Year: 2015

Spinels combination of extended MWIR transmission and its ability to be produced in large sizes using conventional powder processing techniques, make it the material of choice for many sensor window applications. However, the severe environmental requirements for these applications drive the spinel windows strength requirements well beyond that has been demonstrated using the LiF hot pressing/HIP process. This is the most common method for producing large plates of spinel. By contrast, Surmets spinel is produced by a sinter/HIP process, which has long been known to provide much stronger spinel than hot pressing. During the Phase I effort, Surmet produced spinel blanks of up to 6x10x0.6 using its solid state sinter/HIP process. Biaxial flexure strength testing showed that Surmets spinel was significantly stronger (225-245MPa) than the spinel produced by LiF hot pressed/HIP (~100 MPa). The overall objective of the Phase II is to manufacture large spinel windows that meet the strength and optical requirements. Threshold set for part size is at 19x27x0.6, with objective at 30x28x0.6. This effort would leverage Surmets considerable expertise in commercially producing large ALON blanks up to 19x36 size and its very large furnace capabilities to demonstrate commercial production capability for large spinel windows.


Grant
Agency: Department of Energy | Branch: | Program: SBIR | Phase: Phase I | Award Amount: 150.00K | Year: 2016

There are challenges in linear particle accelerators associated with the need to suppress “higher order modes” (HOMs). HOMs are detrimental to accelerator operation, as they are a source of beam instability. The absorption/suppression of HOMs and dissipation of the energy of higher order modes is vital to the function of these accelerators. A promising approach for suppressing HOMs requires the use of absorbers made of lossy ceramic components which absorb parasitic HOMs while transmitting the low-frequency fundamental RF signal. Surmet proposes to develop ALON based ceramic/metal composites to improve the performance of existing HOM absorbers, based upon its demonstrated ability to produce ALON® components with internal architecture. ALON® Transparent Ceramic has been measured to be a low loss material by Jefferson Labs. Using ALON as the matrix material, Surmet will add conductive fillers (e.g., metal powders, with known electrical characteristics at cryogenic temperatures) to produce ALON/metal composite components for beamline HOM absorbers. The process used will build upon Surmet’s robust manufacturing process for ALON® components, including those with internal architecture. Jefferson Labs will evaluate these components as potential HOM absorbers. Additional characterization such as residual strength of the composite material will be done by Surmet. Surmet proposes to transition its mature ALON® technology to process and fabricate highly robust and reliable ALON/metal composites to improve the performance of existing HOM absorbers in linear particle accelerators. Commercial Applications and Other Benefits: The emerging needs for particle accelerator absorbers include larger sizes, higher power capability, and spatially tailored RF absorbing performance at temperatures as low as 4K. Each of the DOE National Labs operates large particle accelerators that use large numbers of RF absorbing components. While this represents a significant market opportunity, a much larger market exists for such components in the areas of semiconductor processing and biomedical equipment. The semiconductor equipment market is estimated to be $40B per year. The market for absorbers that provide visual monitoring capability is expected to be large, estimated to be about $20-30M/year. Surmet estimates sales revenues of $10M during the first 10 years of commercialization of the products developed during the proposed SBIR effort.


Grant
Agency: Department of Defense | Branch: Navy | Program: SBIR | Phase: Phase II | Award Amount: 599.92K | Year: 2013

IR transparent windows and domes on aircrafts and missiles often provide other functionality, such as conductivity, through the use of coatings or metallic grids. For visible applications, conductive coatings like indium tin oxide are available; however, these coatings become highly absorbing at longer wavelengths. For MWIR applications, conductivity is generally provided by metal grids. Unfortunately, the grids are not transparent and produce scattering/reflections, and thus a suitable transparent conductive coating is preferable for applications like the targeting system in the Joint Strike Fighter. During Phase I, Surmet and Teledyne successfully fabricated a durable IR transparent, conductive coating. Teledyne applied their TransCon coatings on Surmet provided spinel substrates and Surmet applied a durable top layer. Measurements indicate that Surmet"s durable coating did not have a detrimental effect on the optics and conductivity of the TransCon-Spinel samples. The durable coatings were completely resistant to hot water and thermal cycle while maintaining some resistance to sand abrasion. This Phase II will further develop the coating technology to improve optical properties of the TransCon and make it valuable to a wider range of MWIR applications. Additionally, thicker durable layers will be evaluated to increase the abrasion resistance of the IR transparent conductive coating.


Grant
Agency: Department of Defense | Branch: Navy | Program: SBIR | Phase: Phase I | Award Amount: 79.99K | Year: 2014

Achieving the NAVY goal to dramatically increase the current state-of-the-art strategic solid rocket motor and gas generator components is critically dependent on the development of high performance materials systems. In order to meet these goals, non-eroding throat materials design solutions and also an affordable processing technology are critically needed. Presently, the desired capability of non-eroding performance under anticipated operating conditions are met by refractory carbides and borides on the porous C- substrates. In a phase I program, Surmet proposes to leverage its experience in refractory nano-carbonitrides materials to develop Ta-Hf-C, Ta-Zr-C and Ta-Hf-Zr-C coatings for C-substrates. The carbides in these systems are noted to have some of the highest melting points and also lowered vapor pressure at very high temperatures. Surmet experience in densification of these materials as singular/multi-layer coatings would be beneficial in developing dense coatings that are mechanically stable on C-substrates. Further improvements such as in-situ formation of refractory borides would potentially lead to more damage tolerant composite coatings. In the option phase of the program, Surmet plans to demonstrate viability of these materials for components and in the phase II, Surmet will team up with end users to further the technology and develop components for field evaluation.


Grant
Agency: Department of Defense | Branch: Navy | Program: SBIR | Phase: Phase II | Award Amount: 649.98K | Year: 2014

Surmet is developing processes to evaluate the environmental damage to Ge IRST domes, and then refurbish those that can be fixed, at a fraction of the purchase price. These processes are predicated on Surmets ability to strip the DLC from current domes, and subsequently deposit thick durable coatings which effectively repair the environmentally damaged surfaces with a minimum of fabrication required. The fundamentals of these processes were demonstrated during the Phase I effort, and will now be expanded and scaled up as a part of the proposed Phase I option and Phase II programs. This will include the establishment/documentation of a process to evaluate these domes, and then categorize them based upon the extent of damage and type of refurbishment required. At the conclusion of the effort, the evaluation and refurbishment processes themselves will be summarize and documented, and then demonstrated on an actual IRST dome provided to Surmet by its government contract monitor. This could then be followed up with a Phase III effort, in which Surmet would establish a manufacturing capability for refurbishing damaged domes from the field at a fraction of the cost of purchasing new ones.


Grant
Agency: Department of Defense | Branch: Special Operations Command | Program: SBIR | Phase: Phase I | Award Amount: 150.00K | Year: 2014

"Current glass-based transparent armor has two major deficiencies: 1) It is very heavy, and therefore can compromise performance and helicopter transportability of vehicles; and 2) It is very thick, and therefore can compromise visual signature of vehicles. Advanced technology ceramic transparent armor removes both these deficiencies and provides a twofold improvement in performance, but costs 6-10 times more than glass-based armor, making it unaffordable for fielding in significant numbers. Through this SBIR, Surmet will demonstrate innovative technology to produce lightweight yet affordable transparent armor for ground vehicles. The Phase I program will include analyses and key experiments to prove feasibility of this technology. Phase II work will implement the technology to manufacture prototype components, and take the technology to a"commercialization ready"stage. Surmet is already supplying advanced technology transparent armor for military helicopters, and is targeting cost reductions to make this technology viable for ground vehicle systems."

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