Scalable submicrometer additive manufacturing

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Science  04 Oct 2019:
Vol. 366, Issue 6461, pp. 105-109
DOI: 10.1126/science.aax8760

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Speeding up submicrometer printing

Using light to build three-dimensional structures with photopolymerization is the basis for two-photon lithography. However, there has been a trade-off between speed and resolution for fabricating structures with this method. Saha et al. optimize a new parallel printing methodology that relies on ultrafast lasers. They show the ability to dramatically increase the speed of printing while maintaining submicrometer resolution.

Science, this issue p. 105


High-throughput fabrication techniques for generating arbitrarily complex three-dimensional structures with nanoscale features are desirable across a broad range of applications. Two-photon lithography (TPL)–based submicrometer additive manufacturing is a promising candidate to fill this gap. However, the serial point-by-point writing scheme of TPL is too slow for many applications. Attempts at parallelization either do not have submicrometer resolution or cannot pattern complex structures. We overcome these difficulties by spatially and temporally focusing an ultrafast laser to implement a projection-based layer-by-layer parallelization. This increases the throughput up to three orders of magnitude and expands the geometric design space. We demonstrate this by printing, within single-digit millisecond time scales, nanowires with widths smaller than 175 nanometers over an area one million times larger than the cross-sectional area.

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