• DSO_Title
  • Local Control of Materials Synthesis (LoCo)

    Interactions between a material’s surface and the environment directly affect the material’s performance and impact the cost, capabilities and readiness of Department of Defense systems. Thin film candidates exist that would mitigate these performance limitations, but the high temperatures employed during thin-film synthesis and deposition exceed the maximum limits of many DoD-relevant substrates. The materials science field has struggled to address this incompatibility for decades, with little result.

    Coatings, thin films and advanced surfaces are important aspects of systems, devices and technologies critical to the mission of the Department of Defense. Despite decades of work, methods that enable atomic through millimeter-scale control over structure and properties of materials deposited on surfaces are still underdeveloped. For example, structural organization of high-value thin films is typically controlled by high-temperature deposition or annealing, but the temperatures employed during thin-film synthesis and deposition exceed the limits of many DoD-relevant substrates, restricting application opportunities. 

    Performers in DARPA’s Local Control of Materials Synthesis (LoCo) program are developing new strategies and tools as a first step toward ordered materials deposition at or near room temperature. Recent innovations include: (1) development of new high-flux/low-temperature plasmas for use in large-scale manufacturing processes and (2) a new atomic layer deposition strategy that facilitates film deposition via a write/edit approach. 

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