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New technology can 3D print nanoscale glass products at lower temperatures

2023-12-05 18:33

Researchers in the United States and Germany have developed a new 3D printing process that can produce nanoscale quartz glass products at relatively low temperatures, with the potential to directly print optical glass components on semiconductor chips.

Microscopic and nanoscale glass structures have broad application prospects in microelectronic equipment and other fields. In the past, sintering was required for molding, but due to the sintering temperature exceeding 1100 degrees Celsius, which is higher than the melting point of many semiconductor materials, glass components cannot be directly processed on chips or circuits.

This new process was jointly developed by the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology in Germany and the University of California, Irvine in the United States. Researchers used a "organic-inorganic hybrid" material - cage type polysilsesquioxane (POSS) as the printing material. The core of POSS molecules is an inorganic "cage" composed of silicon and oxygen atoms, connected by some organic functional groups outside. Functional groups are atoms or atomic groups that determine the chemical properties of organic compounds.

The team uses two-photon polymerization 3D printing technology to crosslink raw material molecules, forming 3D nanostructures. Then, they are heated to 650 degrees Celsius in air to expel organic components and melt inorganic components to form quartz glass.

Using this process, researchers have printed several different types of nano glass structures, including "firewood stacks" and "scaffolding" formed by stacking nano columns, parabolic shaped lenses, and cylinders with patterns engraved on both the outside and inside. These glass structures not only have precise structures, but also superior optical and mechanical properties, with strong resistance to high temperatures and chemical substances. The relevant paper was published in the American journal Science.