Diffraction limits the focusing capabilities of an optical system seriously constraining the use of lasers for nanopatterning. In this work, we present a novel and simple approach to reduce the minimum feature size of a laser-direct write system by ablating a pre-stretched material. In particular, by focusing and scanning a femtosecond laser beam on the surface of a uniaxially pre-stretched elastomeric membrane we are able to obtain microstructures according to a desired pattern. After removing the stress applied to the elastomer, the membrane relaxes to its original size and the ablated patterns shrink while preserving their shape. In this way, the minimum feature size that is typically determined by the optical properties of the focusing system can be now controlled by the strain applied to the elastomer during the ablation process. We demonstrate this approach by ablating lines on a stretchable polymeric membrane at different strain conditions. Experimental results are in good agreement with theoretical predictions. The proposed method opens up new interesting possibilities for the rapid prototyping of micro- and nano-structures suitable for a wide range of applications such as soft-lithography, micro-/nano-fluidics and lab-on-chip.
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|Titolo:||Towards nanopatterning by femtosecond laser ablation of pre-stretched elastomers|
|Data di pubblicazione:||2016|
|Appare nelle tipologie:||01.01 - Articolo su rivista|