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Stimulated-Emission-induced Depletion Nano-manufacturing

STimulated Emission Depletion (STED) lithography is a way to expose 3 dimensional structures  in resist, without a mask, with dimensions much smaller than  the optical diffraction limit. This is achieved by a first ‘exposure beam’, with a diffraction limited Gaussian spot, followed by a second ‘depletion beam’. This second beam has a donut like intensity distribution and cancels the effect of the ‘exposure beam’, resulting  in an effective exposure volume, much smaller than the Gaussian intensity distribution.


Current state of the art 3D lithography  is performed by 2 photon polymerisation, but the resolution of this technique is still limited to 70% of the classical diffraction limit. With STED lithography the ultimate resolution depends on the parasitic exposure effect of the ‘depletion beam’ that increases when the resolution will be improved. In literature resolutions down  to 1/5 of the diffraction limit have been reported.


Production of 3D photonic metamaterials that can work in the visible wavelengths, Production of 3D micro-structured scaffolds for cell growth, Production of Nanofluidic structures.


In literature a 3D resolution down to  52 × 52 × 100 nm has been reported, with a writing speed of 160 µm/s.


3D resolution of 100 × 100 × 100 nm with a writing speed of 1 mm/s.


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