Advancements in technologies such as microelectromechanical systems (MEMS), electronics productions, micro systems technologies, and medical devices create an increasing demand for miniature parts and components. BMG’s properties and are ideal for miniature application; the amorphous structure provides a perfectly homogeneous and isotropic material with superior mechanical properties over conventional MEMS materials. Some BMGs can be thermoplastically formed under pressures and temperatures, which are typically used for plastics processing. We have been developing fabrication processes based on thermo plastic forming (TPF) of BMGs to precision fabricate miniature articles. These processes includes hot embossing (also called molding, imprinting replication, or forming), hot scrapping to create free standing 3D miniature articles, surface tension smoothening process to enhance surface finish, an miniature blow molding to create 3D shells for resonators, packaging, and valves. Our current research in this field involves pushing the limit of versatility and accuracy which we are exploring for new science and technology.
Bulk metallic glasses can be thermoplastically formed (TPF) into miniature size molds using moderate pressures (~10 MPa) when processed in their supercooled liquid region. This process can be used either for surface replication or, when adding an additional processing step where the access material is scraped of at processing temperature, for the fabrication of 3D miniature parts.
Complex shapes on the miniature length scale can be molded in a massively parallel manner when thermoplastically molding bulk metallic glasses. This includes in-plane out of plane and complete MEMS devices.