StormRider Technologies, Inc. (SRTI)
was founded in 2007 to exploit non-thermal processes in surface modification. Most common processes use heat (thermal energy / temperature) for activation. However there are several other potential sources for activation energy, such as Light (as in photo-chemistry), Sound (in sono-chemistry), Electromagnetic Fields (as in electrochemistry) and Microwaves. Interestingly, non-thermal activation frequently results in reaction products and yields that are totally different from heat activated processes.
Cold plasma and microwave excitation can be use to engineer surfaces. These energy sources assist in the cracking precursors to generate unique intermediates that graft onto suitably prepared substrate surfaces. With this strategy, application specific coatings have been applied to otherwise inert substrates for a wide range of applications. The process chemistries are very flexible and can produce surface bonded polymers with acidic, basic or reactive organic functional groups for subsequent bonding other polymers or other functional materials.
In another example, despite over 30 years of work, high quality directly written metal lines for circuit boards and semiconductor device remain elusive.
A primary reason for this was the use of thermal decomposition of precursors as the basis of localized metal depositions. Metal lines of varying quality have been produced depending on thermal characteristics of the substrate and the metal precursor. The unique radiolytic processes under development at SRTI which leverages the interaction between intense optical energy and matter, have the potential of solving this problem.
Such technology will alleviate many of the issues plaguing the wiring of integrated circuits / semiconductor devices and reduce cost. The pure metal films can also deposited in/onto ceramic supports for use in catalysis.