Industrial Crystal Facility (ICF)

Technology Overview

Developing New Materials In Space

Made In Space, Inc. continues the development of the orbital economy with the Industrial Crystal Facility (ICF). The ICF is designed to explore the growth and formulation of inorganic large single crystals and other exotic materials microgravity with size and quality relevant to terrestrial use. The ICF project focuses on advanced materials engineering and expands the utilization of the International Space Station (ISS) into new product areas not previously investigated. The ISS National Lab serves as an ideal platform to explore whether industrial crystals can be grown in microgravity to larger sizes and/or improved quality as compared to terrestrial sources.

Terrestrial systems are either high-temperature frequency-limited or low-temperature and confounded by gravity effects. Existing low-temperature solution growth methods take days to weeks to complete, so parabolic flights and suborbital vehicles are not suitable for establishing process baselines and making effective comparisons. The Industrial Crystal Facility would eliminate the negative effects of sedimentation, convection buoyancy and wall interaction on the sample in microgravity. Intended applications include nonlinear optical single crystals and other relatively large material formulations, such as bulk single-crystal thin films and high-temperature optical fiber.

ICF assembly

Applications

  • Ultrafast optical switches
  • Optical waveguides
  • Optical circuit lithography
  • High-efficiency UV light production
  • Terahertz wave sensors

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