Laser additive manufacturing technology is growing more prevalent around the world for industrial uses, leading researchers to investigate further in relation to polymerization, with findings outlined in the recently published ‘High-speed two-photon polymerization 3D printing with a microchip laser at its fundamental wavelength.’
As sub-micrometer resolution offers ‘unmatched’ potential via laser technology today, the researchers state that spatial resolution down to 100 nm is possible with two-photon polymerization (2PP) technology. In this study, they discovered that using a Q-switched microchip laser improved both quality and performance remarkably:
“Thanks to the laser performance and high 2PP reactivity of the prepared photoresist directly at the fundamental wavelength of our microchip laser, 2PP 3D printing speeds of up to 20 mm/s are demonstrated and objects with feature sizes down to 250 nm are produced,” states the research team. “These 2PP 3D printing characteristics are on par with femtosecond lasers.”
The following speeds were investigated in the range of 0.1 mm/s to 20 mm/s and laser power in the average range of 5 mW to 30 mW, with researchers discovering the following:
- Low scanning speed or high laser power cause damage because of overexposure
- Underexposure leads to unstable structures that are washed out during development
- Structuring window spans as far as 20 mm/s, limited by laser power
- Using laser speed close to the polymerization threshold offers smallest feature size (about 250 nm)
Polymerization was also attempted as they refrained from adding the photo-initiator, resulting in no microstructures at all, demonstrating that (thermal) polymerization was impossible within the confines of the experiment; however, two-photon absorption was a central polymerization mechanism.
In using lower NA, the researchers found narrow and tall rods, with top layer polymeric rods flexing sideways due to the achieved high aspect ratio.
“In order to investigate the achievable feature sizes, widths of the polymeric rods forming the woodpile structures obtained at different scanning speeds and laser powers were measured,” explained the researchers. “These measurements were carried out using magnified SEM images of the woodpiles.
“Both the feature sizes and polymerization speeds are on a par with 2PP fabrication by femtosecond lasers, with a significant reduction in the system footprint and cost,” concluded the researchers.
As researchers continue to expand the knowledge base of 3D printing and the ever-growing library of suitable materials for fabrication, polymerization has been studied over the years in many forms and for many different applications, from the nanoscale to use in atomic force microscopy, to microrobot production.
What do you think of this news? Let us know your thoughts! Join the discussion of this and other 3D printing topics at 3DPrintBoard.com.[Source / Images: ‘High-speed two-photon polymerization 3D printing with a microchip laser at its fundamental wavelength’]
You May Also Like
Nexa3D Announces Reseller Partnerships Spanning Five Countries
Nexa3D, which specializes in producing ultra-fast stereolithography 3D printers powered by its proprietary Lubricant Sublayer Photo-curing (LSPc) technology, is working hard on growing its reseller network to spread across four...
Dyze Design Introduces New 3D Printing Material Extruders – the Typhoon and the Pulsar
Canadian startup Dyze Design is passionate about developing the best parts, components, and accessories for 3D printers, but it especially shines when it comes to extruders, such as its DyzeXtruder...
Nano Dimension Continues its Growth in the 3D Printing Industry
Israeli PCB print leader Nano Dimension showed off its DragonFly 2020 Pro 3D printer at a US event for the first time while attending RAPID + TCT in Texas last...
Bondtech Releases Direct Drive System for Creality CR-10S 3D Printer
Established in 2014 by Martin Bondéus, Swedish company Bondtech works to improve one of the key components of 3D printers: extruders. The company develops, designs and manufactures unique dual drive extruders...
View our broad assortment of in house and third party products.