This artifact is an engineering test sample demonstrating one of the final steps in the construction of a microelectronic hybrid, a specialized device combining electrical components and circuits arranged in layers on top of an alumina wafer.
This sample shows the final or topmost layer for a hybrid, with circuit pathways etched in gold. Sitting beneath it are a series of additional layers that will connect to electrical devices on the hybrid's top layer (not yet attached in this sample).
A completed hybrid is an ingenious puzzle in which many chips and devices 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.