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Bottom-Up meets Top-Down - A Novel Approach towards 3-D Optical Devices

R. Houbertz, S. Cochet, G. Domann, M. Popall, J. Serbin, A. Ovsianikov and B.N. Chichkov
Fraunhofer ISC, DE

Keywords: inorganic-organic hybrid polymers, nanostructuring, two-photon polymerization

Inorganic-organic hybrid polymers suitable for optical applications, were synthesized by catalytically controlled hydrolysis/polycondensation reactions. The resulting resins are build-up by organically functionalized nm-size primary particles (oligomers). Due to the variety of alkoxysilanes and synthesis parameters, the material properties can be varied over a wide range. As functional groups typically oligo-(meth)acryl or styryl moieties are used which allows one to pattern the materials by conventional photolithography or by two-photon processes (2PP) using femtosecond laser pulses. The latter method allows one to directly write arbitrary structures in three dimensions into the hybrid polymer material with a resolution down to 200 nm or even below. While the generation of photonic crystal structures has recently attracted much attention, large-area structures with a resolution in the sub-m regime have not yet been achieved. We here report on large-area nano- and waveguide structures generated by 2PP in hybrid polymers. Structures as large as several mm have been realized with a resolution as small as 200 nm. The materials and the patterning process will be discussed with respect to applications in photonic devices. Particular emphasis will be on the discussion of the underlying physical and chemical processes for organic cross-linking in order to generate functional nanostructures.

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