Thrust B1 focuses on bringing forward the technology and the machine tools for digital 3D Additive Manufacturing on the micrometer and nanometer scale by laser-based approaches, i.e., by 3D laser nanoprinting (sometimes also referred to as 3D direct laser writing). Previous work in this direction at KIT has led to the foundation of the company Nanoscribe GmbH (www.nanoscribe.de).
In Thrust B1, we will tackle the three challenges “finer, faster, and more”.
1) At present, the minimum feature sizes are in the range of 100 nm. Stimulated-emission depletion (STED) inspired approaches have the potential for bringing us towards finer features in the 10 nm range. 2) Today, state-of-the-art laser-focus scanning speeds are in the range of 10 cm/s. Scalable approaches such as, e.g., using multiple laser foci have the potential to make 3D printing significantly faster. 3) The palette of accessible materials is limited. For example, electrically conducting or biodegradable 3D nanostructures are not readily available. Furthermore, 3D nanoprinting of many dissimilar ingredient materials within one 3D nanostructure is at its infancies. To this end, we will work towards wavelength-orthogonal printing and integrated microfluidics.
All of these scientific challenges have been described in much more detail in a comprehensive review article published in 2017 (https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1002/anie.201704695).
Thrust B1 will make advances in 3D laser nanoprinting immediately available to the users in Thrusts C1-C3 of this Cluster. Thrust B1 heavily relies on new photoresist systems, which we will investigate in close collaboration with Thrusts A3 and A2.