UCD has developed a low cost mass manufacturing method to precisely replicate micro-/nanofeatures onto plastic mi-cro-parts.

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UCD has developed a low cost mass manufacturing method to precisely replicate micro-/nanofeatures onto plastic mi-cro-parts. We are looking for industrial partners in the plas-tic micro-components manu-facturing industry, where such precise replication is essential for their products, to identify their commercial needs and develop generic/product-specific prototypes.

A new process technology combining mi-cro-injection molding (μIM) with novel materials called Bulk Metallic Glass (BMG) developed by UCD, is able to mass manu-facture polymer samples containing micro-/nanofeatures with a size of 100nm at a lower cost compared to current processes.

μIM is a cost-effective method for mass production of plastic micro-components with precise feature replication. Current μIM steel tools rely heavily on steels for their strength and durability, but the finite crystalline grain size has limited the repro-ducibility of features size less than 10μm. In addition to good wear resistance, high hardness and fracture toughness, BMG as mould tool for micro-injection molding of-fers more precise feature replication for mass manufacturing.

The UCD School of Mechanical and Materials Engineering, in collaboration be-tween μIM research lead by Professor Michael Gilchrist, and BMG research lead by Dr. David Browne, has successfully fabricated features as small as 100nm and replicated onto various polymer substrates. On-going research is being carried out to further develop micro-injection molding and BMG technology, with a focus on establishing collaborations for knowledge transfer to prospec-tive industrial partners.

This R&D has been supported by the Commercialisation Fund from Enterprise Ireland. The aim of the Commercialisation Fund Programme is to improve the competitiveness of the Irish economy through the creation of technology based start-up companies and the transfer of innovations developed in Higher Education Institutes and Research Performing Organisations to industry in Ire-land.