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December 2002

The Laboratory
in the News

Commentary by
Jay Davis

Emerging from the Cold War: Stockpile Stewardship and Beyond

Machines from Interlocking Molecules

Laser Zaps Communication Bottleneck





Paul Wickboldt, Albert R. Ellingboe, Steven D. Theiss, Patrick M. Smith
Thick Adherent Dielectric Films on Plastic Substrates and Method for Depositing Same
U.S. Patent 6,436,739 B1
August 20, 2002
Thick adherent dielectric films are deposited on plastic substrates as a thermal barrier layer to protect the substrates from high temperatures that occur during laser annealing of layers subsequently deposited on the dielectric films. The barrier layer needs to be 1 micrometer or more thick, adhere to a plastic substrate, not lift off when its temperature increases and decreases, have few or no cracks, not crack when bent, resist lift off when submersed in fluids, insulate electrically, and preferably be transparent. The thick barrier layer may be composed of a variety of dielectrics and certain metal oxides and may be deposited on a variety of plastic substrates by various known deposition techniques. The key to the method of forming the thick barrier layer on the plastic substrate is to keep the substrate cool during the deposition process. Cooling may be accomplished by the use of a cooling chuck on which the plastic substrate is positioned and by directing a cooling gas such as helium, argon, or nitrogen between the plastic substrate and the cooling chuck. Adherent dielectric films up to about 5 micrometers thick have been deposited on plastic substrates so the substrates can withstand laser processing temperatures applied to materials deposited on the dielectric films.

Kevin G. Knauss, Carl O. Boro, Steven R. Higgins, Carrick M. Eggleston
Hyperbaric Hydrothermal Atomic Force Microscope
U.S. Patent 6,437,328 B1
August 20, 2002
A hyperbaric hydrothermal atomic force microscope for imaging solid surfaces in fluids, either liquid or gas, at pressures greater than normal atmospheric pressure. The sample can be heated and its surface imaged in aqueous solution at temperatures greater than 100°C, with less than 1-nanometer vertical resolution. A gas- pressurized microscope base chamber houses the stepper motor and piezoelectric scanner. A chemically inert, flexible membrane separates this base chamber from the sample cell environment and constrains a high-temperature pressurized liquid or gas in the sample cell while allowing movement of the scanner. The sample cell is designed for continuous flow of liquid or gas through the sample environment.

Gary W. Johnson
Charge Amplifier with Bias Compensation
U.S. Patent 6,437,342 B2
August 20, 2002
An ion beam uniformity monitor for low beam currents using a high-sensitivity charge amplifier with bias compensation. The ion beam monitor is used to assess the uniformity of a raster-scanned ion beam, such as that used in an ion implanter, and uses four Faraday cups placed in the geometric corners of the target area. Current from each cup is integrated with respect to time, thus measuring accumulated dose, or change, in coulombs. By comparing the dose at each corner, a qualitative assessment of ion beam uniformity is made possible. With knowledge of the relative area of the Faraday cups, the ion flux and area dose can also be obtained.


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