March is an important month for Micralyne as it marks the end of our fiscal year. It's also the month our ice rink built behind our fab melts, leaving our hockey playing staff feeling a little sad .... but that's a different story.
In our current fiscal year we have generated record revenues and profits and significantly diversified our customer base. Diversification is critical to us as we aim to serve broader markets and geographic regions. This lesson was learned by many microsystems suppliers in the last few years who bet too much on particular industries. In contrast, our goal is to be a profitable and growing company offering leading-edge microsystems solutions to a wide range of customers, regions and industries.
In the last year, the optical telecom market represented a significant amount of our revenue growth. We have also seen growth in the automotive, aerospace, medical devices and life sciences markets.
Micralyne has also pursued a geographical diversification strategy. As we said in a recent news release, over 10% of our revenues now come from Asian markets (up from zero only two years ago), while new customers in Europe have been signed this quarter. We started to focus on developing Asian business a couple of years ago and we expect it will continue to be an area of growth.
Another area of diversification for Micralyne relates to internally generated intellectual property that we are looking to bring to market. One example of this is the GLancing Angle Deposition (or GLAD) thin film technology being developed by Professor Mike Brett at the University of Alberta with funding from Micralyne. GLAD thin films are porous nano-engineered structures that can be fabricated from many different materials and have controllable geometries. GLAD films offer benefits over standard thin films and can be used for such applications as sensors, thermal barriers and photonics devices. One of the first application areas we're using this in is for surface coatings of human-implanted devices. Our Tech Brief below offers more detail and is authored by a researcher in the GLAD Lab, Andy van Popta.
Finally, I wanted to highlight the launch of our revamped website, www.micralyne.com. The site addresses the services offered by Micralyne, our technical capabilities and the markets we serve. The new site is broken down into two major sections: Product Development and Manufacturing. We assist our customers to develop microsystems products while we also serve as a long term manufacturing partner. These two offerings have been critical to our growth as well as that of the microsystems industry as a whole.
We hope you enjoy this version of Newslyne and please let us know if you have any comments or questions. We can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Chris Lumb, President & CEO, Micralyne Inc. -
Tech Brief: GLAD - GLancing Angle Deposition
GLAD is a new and exciting platform technology. By taking advantage of the versatility of the GLAD process, it is possible to engineer materials with unique properties for added value in such areas as optical films, gas sensors and chemical devices. Experimentation has also shown that GLAD films can benefit super-capacitors, solar cells, thermal barrier coatings, microfluidics, optical waveplates, photonic crystals, photoluminescent materials, polarization filters, and catalysts.
GLancing Angle Deposition or GLAD is a proprietary method to deposit engineered nanostructured thin films for next generation nano and micro devices.
As a patented thin-film fabrication process, GLAD has been developed by Micralyne and the GLAD Laboratory at the University of Alberta. GLAD combines precision control of wafer motion with physical vapor deposition at glancing or oblique incidence to produce thin films composed of engineered nanostructures.
Conventional methods for fabricating thin films use substrate heating, energetic processes, and near-normal deposition angles to form coatings that are homogeneous, dense, and uniform. GLAD takes the opposite approach by focusing on low adatom diffusion, collimated vapor flux, and extreme substrate tilt angles to create thin films that are anisotropic, porous, and highly structured.
Under these conditions, the thin film growth is dominated by atomic-shadowing, wherein nucleation sites on the substrate evolve into a tilted columnar microstructure (Fig. 1) rather than agglomerate to form a continuous thin film. When precision substrate motion is added to the picture, the tilted columns can be shaped into a variety of exotic nanostructures, including zigzags, vertical posts, helices, and modulated pillars (Fig. 2).
The exact column geometry is controlled largely by how the substrate is oriented during the deposition process, and can therefore be optimized for a particular application. The GLAD process is amendable to a host of inorganic materials, including metals, semiconductors, and dielectrics, and has recently been extended to organic compounds. It is also possible to create GLAD thin films composed of multiple materials and different heterostructures. For example, the GLAD film shown in Fig. 3 is a multilayer architecture created from silicon dioxide and titania.
As a product development example, Micralyne, in collaboration with the GLAD Laboratory at the University of Alberta, is currently developing a high-speed humidity sensor based on GLAD thin films that offers order of magnitude improvements in sensor performance when compared to current commercial technology.
GLAD thin films can serve as the foundation of many different types of microdevices. Micralyne and the GLAD Lab have the infrastructure and technical expertise to manage a GLAD-based development program from concept to high volume production. To learn more, please contact us via email at email@example.com or via phone at 780-431-4400.
Additional Reading & MEMS Industry Resources
Some additional reading that might be of interest to you in regard to Micralyne or the small tech industry is:
GLAD Website - Learn more about GLAD technology by visiting the Micralyne website.
COMS 2006 - Join Micralyne at the 11th Annual International Conference of Micro and Nano Systems in St. Petersburg, Florida on August 27-31, 2006. COMS 2006 brings together leaders in the field from across the world.
MEMS Industry Group - METRIC 2006 - Mark your calendars for Sept. 11 - 13 for METRIC 2006, MIG's annual meeting. Take advantage of this opportunity to join Micralyne and your peers in helping to shape the future of MEMS.
MEMS Industry Group - MEMS Executive Congress - The MEMS Industry Group is very proud to announce the second annual MEMS Executive Congress being held in sunny Scottsdale/Phoenix, AZ on November 6, 2006.
MEMS Manufacturing - MEMS Manufacturing is an exciting new title from the publishers of European Semiconductor Magazine. Find out what the manufacturers are saying about the challenges they face within the fabs and discover the future market potential through this leading MEMS magazine.
Contact Information: Micralyne Inc.
1911-94 Street, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, T6N 1E6
Phone: 1.780.431.4400 Fax: 1.780.431.4422