Two-photon direct laser writing beyond the diffraction limit using the nanopositioning and nanomeasuring machine

Since the first realization of two-photon direct laser writing (DLW) in Maruo et al. (Opt Lett 22:132-134, 1997), the manufacturing using direct laser writing techniques spread out in many laboratories all over the world. Photosensitive materials with different material properties open a new field for micro- and nanofabrication. The achievable structuring resolution using this technique is reported to be sub-100 nm (Paz et al. in J. Laser Appl. 24:042004, 2012), while a smallest linewidth of 25 nm could be shown in Tan et al. (Appl Phys Lett 90:071106, 2007). In our approach, the combination of DLW with the nanopositioning and nanomeasuring machine NMM-1 offers an improvement of the technique from the engineering side regarding the ultra-precise positioning (Weidenfeller et al. in Adv Fabr Technol Micro/Nano Opt Photon XI 10544:105440E, 2018). One big benefit besides the high positioning resolution of 0.1 nm is offered by the positioning range of 25 mm × 25 mm × 5 mm (Jäger et al. in Technisches Messen 67:319-323, 2000; Manske et al. in Meas Sci Technol 18:520-527, 2007). Thus, a trans-scale fabrication without any stitching or combination of different positioning systems is necessary. The immense synergy between the highly precise positioning and the DLW is demonstrated by the realization of resist lines and trenches whose center-to-center distance undergoes the modified diffraction limit for two-photon processes. The precise positioning accuracy enables a defined distance between illuminated lines. Hence, with a comparable huge width of the trenches of 1.655 [my]m due to a low effective numerical aperture of 0.16, a resist line of 30 nm between two written trenches could be achieved. Although the interrelationships for achieving such narrow trenches have not yet been clarified, much smaller resist lines and trench widths are possible with this approach in the near future.


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