FABulous will develop an industrial direct laser writing technology (multiphoton lithography) to structure coatings with nanoscale engineered 3d topography to fabricate high resolution functional 3D metasurfaces for advanced ultra-lightweight products. These metasurfaces will be capable of manipulating light with unprecedented flexibility and will open the possibility of designing and manufacturing smaller, lighter, and more environmentally friendly products, through the replacement of bulky components and/or the chemical coatings currently used to enhance the efficiency and performance of optical products in applications such as the design and fabrication of sensors, automotive day time running lights (DRL) and solar power generators.
3D nanostructures have an extremely wide range of applications in photonics (eg security holograms), medicine (bio-scafolds), surface coatings (anti-fogging) and elsewhere. However, there are currently no manufacturing technologies that can produce 3D nanostructures at commercially viable throughput. Multi-photon lithography (MPP) can fabricate fully 3D nano-structures, but the current MPP process is inherently slow, as it involves a point-by-point translation of a focussed beam over a polymer sub-surface layer. Fabrication of a typical cm2 high-resolution component currently takes hours to even days. A previous H2020 project (Phenomenon) demonstrated the feasibility of parallelising the process using Diffractive Optical Elements (DOE) and Spatial Light Modulators (SLM) to simultaneously write with hundreds to millions of beams. FABulous aims to extend, improve and apply this approach to manufacture high resolution 3D metasurfaces at throughputs viable for series production.
To reach the targeted 3D resolution (~300nm) and plot rates (cm2/min) the consortium will massively parallelise the write process using hundreds to millions of write beams simultaneously based on DOE beam-splitting technology and SLMs (micro-displays) as illustrated in the schematics below.
These approaches were used successfully in the previous Phenomenon project to increase plot rates by several orders of magnitude but often at the cost of reduced plot resolution because of interference between closely-spaced neighbouring write spots. Here the partners will model the photo-chemistry of the parallel MPP write process in 3D (light distribution, optical and chemical diffusion … ) and then use these models and process knowledge to pre-compensate plot data to allow for and correct (Optical Proximity Correction) these effects to increase resolution. This will be combined with innovative plot strategies and high performance/power femtosecond lasers and nano-translation XYZ stages to maintain resolution while increasing the number of parallel write beams and hence plot rate.
MPP-written structures (11x11 in parallel)
Example parallel MPP-written 3D structures
The rôle of the IMT Atlantique Optics Department (Brest site) in the project is to design, build, model and optimise a prototype massively parallelised multi-photon polymerisation photoplotter (or “3D nanoprinter”) using DOEs designed and fabricated in the department cleanrooms and commercial SLMs. Initial small scale demonstrator structures will be fabricated for the end user applications with this photoplotter and the technology then transferred to the manufacturing partners for the fabrication of the full scale industrial demonstrators structures.
- Coordinator : ASOCIACION DE INVESTIGACION METALURGICA DEL NOROESTE - AIMEN (Project coordination and demonstrator fabrication)
- MULTIPHOTON OPTICS GMBH (Industrial direct-write machine design/fabrication and demonstrator fabrication)
- INSTITUT MINES-TELECOM (Prototype design, assembly and small scale fabrications)
- FRAUNHOFER GESELLSCHAFT ZUR FORDERUNG DER ANGEWANDTEN FORSCHUNG EV - FHG (Photochemical process modelling)
- IDRYMA TECHNOLOGIAS KAI EREVNAS - FOUNDATION FOR RESEARCH AND TECHNOLOGYHELLAS (3D photonic nanostructure design and temporal focusing fabrication)
- THALES - THALES (End user and 3D nanostructure design)
- PSA AUTOMOBILES SA - PSA (End user)
- FICOSA ADAS, S.L. - FICOSA ADAS, S.L. (End user and optical design)
- INNOVATION IN RESEARCH & ENGINEERING SOLUTIONS - IRES (Lifecycle environmental impact analysis)
- PLANOPSIM NV (Optical modelling and design)
This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme