After the successful design, test and implementation of ALSS, the science and technology of laser sintering will be better understood for controllable adaptive operations. It provides a key solution to NASA's challenge of in-space, on-demand manufacturing capabilities to support the unique challenges of long-duration human spaceflight, which requires an automated adaptive in-line quality control system along with the manufacturing process. The reduction in both time and manpower with modularization of the process will allow better integration of a prototype instrument to be installed for demonstration on ISS. NASA can use this ALSS module at NASA research centers to compare and evaluate the advantages of printing electronics using different direct-write technologies, whether it is the Aerosol Jet or inkjet or other metal NP ink dispensing methods or plasma jet printing technology.
While the Aerosol Jet(R) technology is changing the way engineers and scientists design and develop electronic, biomedical, and mechanical systems, its applicability in printed electronics is mainly limited by the sintering process when the substrate materials must not be damaged by the elevated temperature, especially when the conventional thermal oven is used. The success of ALSS development will enable sintering printed metal NP inks on many low-temperature substrates that have been impossible with oven sintering, because the transient laser power is applied to a very small spot with a very short duration which minimizes the heat-affected zone. Thus, the Aerosol Jet system with the ALSS enhancement will tremendously increase its production capability and market share in printed electronics industry. On the other hand, the knowledge gained via ALSS development can be utilized in other in-line monitoring and control subsystem development for future system enhancement, which is also aimed at increasing the scopes of Aerosol Jet(R) potential commercial applications.