APL Recognized by Cornell for Innovative Research

At the close of each academic year, the Cornell Materials Science and Engineering department (MSE) hosts an awards dinner, inviting a broad spectrum of its students who are actively involved in materials research – including undergraduate, M.Eng, M.S., and Ph.D. candidates – to present summaries of their research to visiting industry representatives. Their research posters are judged by a team of Cornell MSE faculty and select industry professionals. Mukund Ayalasomayajula, a Master of Engineering student who served as an on-site graduate research assistant for the AREA Consortium was judged to receive the Master of Engineering Project Innovation Award. His thesis project, executed in the Universal Instruments Advanced Process Laboratory, was described in his poster entitled: Processing of Flexible Electronics using Asymmetric Heating. Under the mentorship of AREA staff researcher Peter McClure, Mukund devised methods to create flipchip solder connections to various flexible substrate materials that are incapable of tolerating conventional flipchip soldering without thermal damage. Viable manufacturing methods for low cost, low temperature polymer materials such as polyethylene terephthalate (PET) and thermoplastic polyurethane (TPU) are critical for enabling the rapidly growing flexible hybrid electronics market. This APL manufacturing research was done in collaboration with NextFlex, one of the federally funded National Network of Manufacturing Institutes tasked with promoting innovation for domestic manufacturing. Key to the project success was the ability to define and accurately produce solder reflow profiles under controlled thermal gradients provided by the Fineplacer Pico bonder which had earlier been contributed to the lab by APL industrial partner Finetech.

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