Microchannel plates (MCPs) are two dimensional arrays of microscopic channel electron multipliers. In conjunction with the Argonne National Laboratory at the University of Chicago, INCOM’s large-area capillary glass array plates have been combined with an electrode coating and a secondary emissive layer, to create these MCPs.  This new fabrication technology will pave the way for the increased use of MCPs in a wide range of critical applications including TOF, PET, and Neutron Detection.

Unique Manufacturing at a Low Cost

A standard MCP is produced by chemical etching of a fused fiber optic that is produced using specialized (and expensive) core and clad glass.  The core glass is etched away from the plate and the cladding is hydrogen fired to produce a thin layer of semiconducting reduced lead oxide on the surface of the MCP pores.
INCOM’s MCP is fabricated using a unique hollow draw process that eliminates the need for a specialized core glass that needs to be removed.  Additionally, INCOM has developed a method to produce these plates in sizes that will accommodate all currently available MCPs as well as much larger area MCPs for future developmental programs and applications.  The plate is then electrode coated and finally undergoes a unique application, atomic layer deposition (ALD), for the resistive function and the secondary emissive function, which enables these two properties to be tuned independently.
The INCOM MCP presents a cost-effective and robust route to fabricate MCP detectors by combining two new technologies: large-area capillary glass array plates developed at INCOM, and atomic layer deposition (ALD) coatings developed at Argonne National Labs. When used together for high volume manufacturing, the MCP detector fabrication cost would be reduced by a factor of 3-5 over conventional processes.

You Want Big, You Got Big

A key advantage with INCOM’s MCP is the unique process that allows for the largest MCP’s ever made, as well as virtually unlimited length to diameter ratios.  For example, producing an 8” x 8” plate, 0.48mm thick with 12 micron pores is well within INCOM’s capability and represents the largest area MCP ever produced. The larger areas provided by the INCOM MCP will facilitate new applications, including improved PET scanners for medical imaging and large-area neutron detectors to scan cargo rapidly for homeland security.

No Scrubbing Required

Another advantage of INCOM’s MCP is that product does not need to be “scrubbed” prior to use. Scrubbing is the term that has been applied to exposing an MCP to an electron source until its emission is permanently stabilized. The scrubbing process contributes significantly to the cost and manufacturing time of MCPs as well as any devices that incorporate an MCP. The INCOM MCP maintains a very steady gain over time and consequently there is no need for this costly and time-consuming scrubbing procedure.

Performance and Customization

INCOM’s MCP technology exhibits superior performance to currently available technology.  They have the ability to produce custom sizes and alter the chemistry of the coatings to allow for complete customization of performance for both the secondary electron and emissive layers.

ALD-GCA-MCPs poster Incom used to showcase research and performance results
at the 2016 ALD Conference in Dublin

INCOM offers conventional and next-generation customized MCPs, including the industry’s largest-area MCP (8″x8″).
Flat panel, large area microchannel plate detector measures the time/position of photons/relativistic particles; enables unprecedented imaging capabilities for the high-energy physics, medical, defense and aerospace industries; “X” spacers help distribute the load of atmospheric pressure on the large area evacuated photodetector. @IncomUSA <> #LAPPD