Two-photon polymerization initiators for three-dimensional optical data storage and microfabrication

Abstract

Two-photon excitation provides a means of activating chemical or physical processes with high spatial resolution in three dimensions and has made possible the development of three-dimensional fluorescence imaging1, optical data storage2,3 and lithographic microfabrication4,5,6. These applications take advantage of the fact that the two-photon absorption probability depends quadratically on intensity, so under tight-focusing conditions, the absorption is confined at the focus to a volume of order λ3 (where λ is the laser wavelength). Any subsequent process, such as fluorescence or a photoinduced chemical reaction, is also localized in this small volume. Although three-dimensional data storage and microfabrication have been illustrated using two-photon-initiated polymerization of resins incorporating conventional ultraviolet-absorbing initiators, such photopolymer systems exhibit low photosensitivity as the initiators have small two-photon absorption cross-sections (δ). Consequently, this approach requires high laser power, and its widespread use remains impractical. Here we report on a class of π;-conjugated compounds that exhibit large δ (as high as 1, 250 × 10−50 cm4 s per photon) and enhanced two-photon sensitivity relative to ultraviolet initiators. Two-photon excitable resins based on these new initiators have been developed and used to demonstrate a scheme for three-dimensional data storage which permits fluorescent and refractive read-out, and the fabrication of three-dimensional micro-optical and micromechanical structures, including photonic-bandgap-type structures7.

Access options

Rent or Buy article

Get time limited or full article access on ReadCube.

from$8.99

All prices are NET prices.

Figure 1
Figure 2: Fluorescent bits recorded by two-photon-initiated polymerization.
Figure 3: Three-dimensional microstructures produced by two-photon-initiated polymerization.

References

  1. 1

    Denk, W., Strickler, J. H. & Webb, W. W. Two-photon laser scanning fluorescence microscopy. Science 248, 73–76 (1990).

    ADS  CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  2. 2

    Strickler, J. H. & Webb, W. W. Three-dimensional optical data storage in refractive media by two-photon point excitation. Opt. Lett. 16, 1780–1782 (1991).

    ADS  CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  3. 3

    Parthenopoulos, D. A. & Rentzepis, P. M. 3-Dimensional optical storage memory. Science 245, 843–845 (1989).

    ADS  CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  4. 4

    Strickler, J. H. & Webb, W. W. Two-photon excitation in laser scanning fluorescence microscopy. SPIE Proc. 1398, 107–118 (1990).

    ADS  Article  Google Scholar 

  5. 5

    Wu, E. S., Strickler, J. H., Harrell, W. R. & Webb, W. W. Two-photon lithography for microelectronic application. SPIE Proc. 1674, 776–782 (1992).

    ADS  CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  6. 6

    Maruo, S., Nakamura, O. & Kawata, S. Three dimensional microfabrication with two-photon-absorbed photopolymerization. Opt. Lett. 22, 132–134 (1997).

    ADS  CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  7. 7

    Yablonovitch, E. Photonic crystals. J. Mod. Opt. 41, 173–194 (1994).

    ADS  CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  8. 8

    Albota, M.et al. Design of organic molecules with large two-photon absorption cross sections. Science 281, 1653–1656 (1998).

    ADS  CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  9. 9

    Odian, G. Principles of Polymerization2nd edn (Wiley, New York, (1981)).

    Google Scholar 

  10. 10

    Feiertag, G.et al. Fabrication of photonic crystals by deep x-ray lithography. Appl. Phys. Lett. 71, 1441–1443 (1997).

    ADS  CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  11. 11

    Wu, L., Li, F., Tang, S., Bihari, B. & Chen, R. T. Compression-molded three-dimensional tapered polymeric waveguides for low-loss optoelectronic packaging. IEEE Photon. Technol. Lett. 9, 1601–1603 (1997).

    ADS  Article  Google Scholar 

  12. 12

    Bustillo, J. M., Howe, R. T. & Muller, R. S. Surface micromachining for microelectromechanical systems. Proc. IEEE 86, 1552–1574 (1998).

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

Download references

Acknowledgements

We thank S. Fraser and the Biological Imaging Center, California Institute of Technology, for use of a two-photon scanning laser microscope system, and S. Thayumanavan for synthetic precursors used in this work. H.R. thanks the Alexander von Humboldt Stiftung for a postdoctoral fellowship through the Theodore Lynen Program. This work was supported by the Ballistic Missile Defense Initiative Organization (at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory) and by the Office of Naval Research (through CAMP at the University of Arizona), the NSF and the Air Force Office of Scientific Research (at the California Institute of Technology).

Author information

Affiliations

Authors

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Joseph W. Perry.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Cumpston, B., Ananthavel, S., Barlow, S. et al. Two-photon polymerization initiators for three-dimensional optical data storage and microfabrication. Nature 398, 51–54 (1999). https://doi.org/10.1038/17989

Download citation

Further reading

Comments

By submitting a comment you agree to abide by our Terms and Community Guidelines. If you find something abusive or that does not comply with our terms or guidelines please flag it as inappropriate.

Search

Sign up for the Nature Briefing newsletter for a daily update on COVID-19 science.
Get the most important science stories of the day, free in your inbox. Sign up for Nature Briefing