Thin-film resistors can reportedly be made quickly and at a low cost using a technology first developed for a U.S. Navy project and now tailored to the needs of the commercial marketplace. Using a direct writing technology embodied in the MicroPen system, prototypes of precision devices can be designed and produced in a matter of hours versus up to several weeks for competing processes, it’s claimed. The technology has been used to produce, for example, a series of 20 kiloohms -to-20 Gigaohms seven-decade dividers having a 1% ratio tolerance, 25 ppm TCR, and 1 ppm VCR. It has also been used to "write" thick-film collector lines for solar panels. Here is how the system works: the resistor is first designed using MicroPen’s CAD station; a ceramic substrate is then blanketed with nichrome or other resistive alloy and the design traced onto the substrate in an etch resist using MicroPen; and, finally, the unwanted resistor material is etched away. OEMs can purchase either devices or MicroPen system from the firm.