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Fabrication of Complex Diffractive Structures in an Organic-Inorganic Hybrid and Incorporation of Silver Nanoparticles

F.H. Scholes, F.L. Smith and S.A. Furman
CSIRO Manufacturing and Infrastructure Technology, AU

sol-gel, organic-inorganic hybrid, photolithography, nanoparticles

Organic-inorganic hybrids have recently attracted considerable interest. These materials, which are synthesized by the highly versatile sol-gel process, consist of interpenetrating organic and inorganic networks at the nano- to molecular size scale. Incorporating photo-polymerizable groups into the organic network allows the material to be patterned with light like a photo-resist. Thus, micro-scale relief structures can be generated in this glass-like material, but without needing harsh chemical etchants. Here, we report on the fabrication of photo-patterned structures in an organic-inorganic hybrid with sub-micron feature sizes. We present patterns with an unprecedented level of design complexity, in the form of a diffractive optically variable device (OVD). The ability to combine both sub-micron features and a high level of design complexity may be useful in the fabrication of phase masks, X-ray optics and security devices. We also demonstrate how the material can serve as a matrix for nano-scale components, via the incorporation of Ag nanoparticles into the material. This may be relevant to a range of emerging technologies, such as optoelectronics (e.g. nonlinear waveguiding devices) and chemical sensing (e.g. a lab-on-a-chip substrate for chemical detection by surface-enhanced Raman scattering).

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