This artifact is an engineering test sample demonstrating an early step in the construction of a microelectronic hybrid, a specialized device combining electrical components and circuits arranged in layers on top of an alumina wafer.
Each layer consisted of three sublayers: a conducting sublayer composed of circuits; an insulating sublayer; and a "via" sublayer that provided connections between adjoining layers. In this artifact, the grey lines indicate where a special machine should deposit gold onto the wafer to create a conducting sublayer.
The number of layers in a device ranged from three to eight, depending on its function. A completed hybrid was an ingenious puzzle in which the various layers were integrated through as many as several thousand connections.
Such hybrids were essential components on some types of science and communications satellites in the 1980s and 1990s. Lockheed Martin donated this artifact to the Museum in 1998.
Gift of Lockheed Martin