The group collaborates with Mori Seiki, one of the world’s largest machine tool manufacturers. Their research and development division, Digital Technology Laboratory (DTL), is conveniently located in Davis, CA. They provide access and knowledge to advanced micro- and nano-machining methods, including the prototype NN1000 nano-mill (see Figure 1). This "nano-machine" is developed by Digital Technology Laboratory, a subsidiary of Mori-Seiki. It is a 5-axis CNC mill with 1 nm command resolution. It features air-bearing guideways, laser scale position sensors, and vibration isolation technology. The pneumatic spindle is capable of 160,000 RPM, or a linear scribe can be installed instead. The Cartesian travel limits are 150, 120, and 50 mm for axes x, y, and z respectively. The a-axis can travel + or - 90 degrees, and the c-axis has 360 degree movement, each with a precision of 1 micro-degree. With conventional tooling, surface finishes of 50 nm can be achieved, with dimensional tolerances less than 1 micron on copper. Other materials have similar performance, such as stainless steel, nickle, and tungsten carbide, but our experience has been with copper and its alloys. With diamond tooling surfaces can be improved to 10 nm. This machine is extremely versatile in its ability to work with complex geometries, varieties of tooling, and exotic materials. Set up and programing time is very fast (< 1 day) when compared to other microfabrication techniques (weeks or months). This allows researchers to alter and tune designs without significant cost or delays in the fabrication process. Cycle times depend on the application, material, and tooling. It is an ideal platform for research and development, prototyping, or manufacturing unique high performance parts.
Nano-machining methods are extremely versatile in the fabrication of complicated designs and working with exotic materials, and its performance is comparable to other micro-processing technologies. “Real world” projects are beneficial to better understand fabrication methods and the implementation of miniature and diamond tooling. There are continuing opportunities to collaborate directly with DTL engineers, as well as develop and fabricate UC Davis research projects.
Figure 1. NN1000 nanomill. Capabilities include:
Less than 1 micron tolerances on Copper (better on hard materials - ~50 nm)
Surface finish of 50 nm Ra on Copper (better on hard materials ~10 nm)
Milling and scribing techniques may be used
The group’s professional staff are permitted full access to a state-of-the-art computer numerically controlled (CNC) facility within the College of Engineering (1220 Bainer Hall, see Fig. 1) where they have fabricated numerous components for the group’s millimeter wave plasma diagnostics instrumentation. Examples include dichroic plates, imaging optics and instrumentation enclosures and panels. Large diameter lenses and more complicated structures can be fabricated at low cost at the Biological and Agricultural Engineering Machine Shop (1329 Bainer Hall, see Fig. 2).