Multiphoton Polymerization Using Femtosecond Bessel Beam for Layerless Three-Dimensional Printing

[+] Author and Article Information
Xiaoming Yu

The College of Optics and Photonics,
University of Central Florida,
P.O. Box 162700,
Orlando, FL 32816
e-mail: yux@creol.ucf.edu

Meng Zhang

Department of Industrial and Manufacturing Systems Engineering,
Kansas State University,
2061 Rathbone Hall 1701B Platt Street,
Manhattan, KS 66506
e-mail: meng@k-state.edu

Shuting Lei

Department of Industrial and Manufacturing Systems Engineering,
Kansas State University,
2061 Rathbone Hall 1701B Platt Street,
Manhattan, KS 66506

1Corresponding author.

Contributed by the Manufacturing Engineering Division of ASME for publication in the JOURNAL OF MICRO- AND NANO-MANUFACTURING. Manuscript received June 14, 2017; final manuscript received August 29, 2017; published online December 14, 2017. Assoc. Editor: Yayue Pan.

J. Micro Nano-Manuf 6(1), 010901 (Dec 14, 2017) (8 pages) Paper No: JMNM-17-1031; doi: 10.1115/1.4038453 History: Received June 14, 2017; Revised August 29, 2017

Photopolymerization enables the printing of three-dimensional (3D) objects through successively solidifying liquid photopolymer on two-dimensional (2D) planes. However, such layer-by-layer process significantly limits printing speed, because a large number of layers need to be processed in sequence. In this paper, we propose a novel 3D printing method based on multiphoton polymerization using femtosecond Bessel beam. This method eliminates the need for layer-by-layer processing, and therefore dramatically increases printing speed for structures with high aspect ratios, such as wires and tubes. By using unmodulated Bessel beam, a stationary laser exposure creates a wire with average diameter of 100 μm and length exceeding 10 mm, resulting in an aspect ratio > 100:1. Scanning this beam on the lateral plane fabricates a hollow tube within a few seconds, more than ten times faster than using the layer-by-layer method. Next, we modulate the Bessel beam with a spatial light modulator (SLM) and generate multiple beam segments along the laser propagation direction. Experimentally observed beam pattern agrees with optics diffraction calculation. This 3D printing method can be further explored for fabricating complex structures and has the potential to dramatically increase 3D printing speed while maintaining high resolution.

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Fig. 1

A sketch comparing Gaussian and Bessel beam: (a) A lens focuses the input Gaussian laser beam to an ellipsoidal focus by converting plane waves into curved wavefront. (b) An axicon creates a Bessel (Bessel-like) beam, whose central lobe forms a line-shaped focus. The Bessel beam consists of conical wavefront.

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Fig. 2

Calculated intensity distribution in lateral (xy) and axial (xz) plane, for (a,b) Gaussian and (c,d) Bessel beam with similar central spot size (≈2 μm). Brighter color indicates higher intensity. Note the different z-axis in (b) and (d). Wavelength 800 nm, Gaussian focal diameter (1/e2) 2.2 μm, Bessel beam central diameter (between first zeros) 2.7 μm, input Gaussian beam diameter (1/e2) 10 mm.

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Fig. 3

Experimental setup

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Fig. 4

(a) A sketch shows the formation of a line-shaped focus using the axicon and (b) a photograph shows the line-shaped focus (in blue) inside the liquid resin

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Fig. 5

(a) Three microwires with a typical length of 11 mm fabricated with the unmodulated Bessel beam. (b) and (c) are magnified optical microscopy images showing the top and bottom end of a microwire, respectively. Laser power is 100 mW.

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Fig. 6

Optical microscopy images of microwires fabricated with laser power of (a) 20 mW and (c) 40 mW. (b) and (d) are magnified images. The wires are observed before alcohol rinsing and found to consist of multiple thin fibers.

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Fig. 7

A sequence of images show the microwire growing process. Yellow arrows mark the growth front, blue arrows point to what are believed to be bubbles (which disappear over time), and a red circle marks wire deformation perhaps due to thermal effect. Laser power is 50 mW. Laser exposure stops around t = 2 s. Inset shows the length of the wire increases with exposure time.

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Fig. 8

Printing a hollow tube by rotating the translation stage. The entire printing process lasts 1–2 s. Arrow in the last image points to the printed hollow tube. Bottom shows that the cuvette rotates in a circular trajectory.

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Fig. 9

Hollow tubes printed with the method shown in Figs. 8(a) and 8(b) are two ends of a tube. (c) and (d) show the side wall.

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Fig. 10

Generation of multiple beam segments with SLM. Examples for 3 and 4 segments are shown in (a) and (b), respectively. Top row illustrates how different phase masks generate different numbers of segments. Bottom images are experimentally observed segments inside resin.

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Fig. 11

(a) Illustration of the model used for beam pattern calculation. (b) Experimentally observed and (c) calculated beam pattern. Vertical dashed lines mark the boundaries of the cuvette. In (c), low and high intensities are colored in white and blue, respectively.

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Fig. 12

Generation of multiple segments and dynamic change of their location in the axial direction. (a) Resin tank before laser irradiation. ((b)–(e)) Arrows track the movement of a focal spot. All the focal spots move to the right.



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