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One-photon three-dimensional printed fused silica glass with sub-micron features

Professor Yang Lu and his collaborators reported a new approach using one-photon micro-stereolithography (OμSL)-based 3D printing to create transparent and high-performance fused silica glass components with complex, 3D sub-micron architectures. This technology has promising prospects in micro-optics, microfluidics, mechanical metamaterials, and engineered surfaces. The research was recently published in the Nature Communications in March 2024.


Details of the publication:


One-photon three-dimensional printed fused silica glass with sub-micron features



Abstract:

The applications of silica-based glass have evolved alongside human civilization for thousands of years. High-precision manufacturing of three-dimensional (3D) fused silica glass objects is required in various industries, ranging from everyday life to cutting-edge fields. Advanced 3D printing technologies have emerged as a potent tool for fabricating arbitrary glass objects with ultimate freedom and precision. Stereolithography and femtosecond laser direct writing respectively achieved their resolutions of ~50 μm and ~100 nm. However, fabricating glass structures with centimeter dimensions and sub-micron features remains challenging. Presented here, our study effectively bridges the gap through engineering suitable materials and utilizing one-photon micro-stereolithography (OμSL)-based 3D printing, which flexibly creates transparent and high-performance fused silica glass components with complex, 3D sub-micron architectures. Comprehensive characterizations confirm that the final material is stoichiometrically pure silica with high quality, defect-free morphology, and excellent optical properties. Homogeneous volumetric shrinkage further facilitates the smallest voxel, reducing the size from 2.0 × 2.0 × 1.0 μm3 to 0.8 × 0.8 × 0.5 μm3. This approach can be used to produce fused silica glass components with various 3D geometries featuring sub-micron details and millimetric dimensions. This showcases promising prospects in diverse fields, including micro-optics, microfluidics, mechanical metamaterials, and engineered surfaces.




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