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Winter 2014

Inquiry Magazine Archive

  • Spring 2016

    Spring 2016: Premium Blend

    Found in everything from space shuttles to dental fillings, composite materials have thoroughly infiltrated modern society. But their potential is still greatly untapped, offering researchers ample opportunity for discovery.

  • Fall 2015

    Fall 2015: Collision Course

    Within the particle showers created at the Large Hadron Collider, answers to some of the universe’s mysteries are waiting.

  • Spring 2015

    Spring 2015: Almost Human

    Model systems like pigeons can help illuminate our own evolutionary and genomic history.

  • Fall 2014

    Fall 2014: Small Wonder

    UT Arlington's tiny windmills are bringing renewable energy to a whole new scale.

  • Winter 2014

    Winter 2014: Overdue for an Overhaul

    The stability of our highways, pipelines, and even manholes is reaching a breaking point.

  • 2012

    2012: Mystery solved?

    Scientists believe they have discovered a subatomic particle that is crucial to understanding the universe.

  • 2011

    2011: Boosting brain power

    UT Arlington researchers unlock clues to the human body’s most mysterious and complex organ.

  • 2010

    2010: Powered by genetics

    UT Arlington researchers probe the hidden world of microbes in search of renewable energy sources.

  • 2009

    2009: Winning the battle against pain

    Wounded soldiers are benefiting from Robert Gatchel’s program that combines physical rehabilitation with treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder.

  • 2009

    2007: Sensing a solution

    Tiny sensors implanted in the body show promise in combating acid reflux disease, pain and other health problems.

  • 2006

    2006:Semiconductors: The next generation

    Nanotechnology researchers pursue hybrid silicon chips with life-saving potential.

  • 2005

    2005: Imaging is everything

    Biomedical engineers combat diseases with procedures that are painless to patients.


The Future of Flexible Phones

Micropunching lithography has the potential to transform electronic devices and computers 

Dr. Wei Chen

Ever wished you could roll up your laptop for easy storage? Fold your cellphone so it fits like a billfold in your pocket? Mechanical and aerospace engineering Professor Cheng Luo is working to make your dreams a reality.

Through a $300,000 National Science Foundation grant, Dr. Luo is developing a process called “micropunching lithography” to create lightweight, low-cost, and more flexible polymer-based devices that could one day replace the silicon-based materials commonly used in computers and other electronics.

His new process combines concepts from two methods—macropunching and large-scale lithography—that have been in use for more than a century. Macropunching is employed by the manufacturing industry to cut patterns into sheet metal; with lithography, simple chemical processes are used to create an image on a printing plate.

Luo’s micropunching lithography method thus involves two operations: cutting and drawing. In these, polymers are deformed using rigid and soft molds, respectively, to create desired polymer channels and sidewalls that can be used for detection and delivery.

“Practical applications for these microstructures could be in everything from glucose monitoring to the delivery of chemicals for treating water pipes,” Luo says.

Erian Armanios, chair of the Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering Department, adds, "these novel microstructures could also be used as sensors and actuators for engineering and biomedical applications."

More articles from this issue

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