A wide range of materials has been validated successfully for direct laser writing with different optical, mechanical, electronic and chemical/biological properties. Along the list of compatible resins are standard photopolymers as used in semiconductor industry. Biocompatible materials and hydrogels can also be used for 3D structuring. Nanoscribe also develops own resists to provide the printers' maximum performance with respect to resolution or writing speed to the user. Polymer structures can be printed on a large range of substrates with different chemical and physical properties. The choice of the right substrate material depends on the type of application. For use in optical applications, often a transparent substrate material like glass is used. Here, the substrate is solely providing a support to the polymer structures. Pre-structured substrates like opaque IC-wafers or transparent micro-fluidic chips can also be used to print polymer structures upon. In that way, multiphoton lithography provides an elegant way to combine the substrate with optical or mechanical parts thereby enhancing its functionality.
Despite numerous two-photon polymerization compatible photopolymers, there remain many classes of non-polymerizable materials which cannot directly be fabricated as 3D micro- and nanostructures in a one-step-procedure. To meet application demands, casting techniques can be applied – even for complex 3D micro- and nanostructures!
- Casting in PDMS
The fabrication of large-area structures is often a time-consuming task. However, you can considerably reduce the process time by writing a master and replicate it to different materials by stamping techniques.
- Atomic Layer Deposition (ALD) and Chemical Vapour Deposition (CVD)
Through silicon-single-inversion (SSI) and silicon-double-inversion (SDI), polymer based network-like 3D structures can be casted into silicon. Exemplified are woodpile photonic crystals and a photonic quasicrystals. The principle has also been proven to work with butterfly wings.
Metallic structures can be realized via a galvanization process of the 3D polymer structures that serve as a templates. The metal, e.g., gold, nickel or copper, is electrochemically deposited in a galvanization bath.
- Electroless plating
Polymer structures can also be deposited with thin nickel layers by means of electroless nickel plating. This allows the coating of porous structures without the need of electric conductive seed layers.
- Melt infiltration and patterning of chalcogenide glasses
Semi-conducting chalcogenide glasses can be infiltrated in 3D templates and can even be structured in 3D using direct laser writing.
Nanoscribe GmbH works closely with lead customers and project partners to develop customised solutions and processes for specific industrial applications.
Within the BMBF research project PRINTOPTICS Nanoscribe is working on the miniaturization of medical endoscopes, together with the project partners 4th Physics Institute and Institute of Technical Optics (both University of Stuttgart) and the medical technology company Karl Storz. Nanoscribe's 3D microprinting technology enables the production of high-quality miniature optical systems with submicrometer details for the first time. This makes it possible to print extremely filigree, high-performance optics directly onto 125 micrometer-thin glass fibers. The project also aims to develop innovative solutions for the mass production of endoscopic miniature systems.
As part of the eurostars project MASSMICRO, Nanoscribe developed lithographic solutions for manufacturing metallic, three-dimensional micro-components for industrial mass production. As of today, Nanoscribe's 3D printers are used for rapid fabrication of polymeric masters and subsequent electroplating serving as robust metallic molds for inexpensive mass fabrication.
Within the field of photonic integration a lithographic solution based on hardware, software and related processes has been developed to print so-called photonic wirebonds. The project has been funded by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) under the acronym PHOIBOS. Based on these results, systems were made commercially available by Nanoscribe to users both in science as well as in industry.
Spectral tuning of a three-dimensional photonic-bandgap waveguide signature by silica atomic-layer deposition
I. Staude, G. von Freymann, and M. Wegener, Optical Materials Express, 2, 629 (2012)
Tapered gold-helix metamaterials as improved circular polarizers
J. K. Gansel, M. Latzel, A . Frölich, J. Kaschke, M. Thiel, and M. Wegener, Applied Physics Letters 100, 101109 (2012)