3D printed lenses allow ultra-long-distance spectroscopy

Researchers on the College of Warsaw, Poland, have designed micrometre-sized lenses utilizing a Direct Laser Writing (DLW) 3D printing approach. The 3D printed lenses will be fabricated on high of varied supplies, together with fragile graphene-like supplies.

The analysis workforce, based mostly within the College of Physics, explains that the lenses can substitute cumbersome microscope targets that have been beforehand required for performing spectroscopic measurements of single nanometre-sized mild emitters, like quantum dots or atomically skinny 2D supplies.

Moreover, these cumbersome microscopes needed to be positioned at a distance of about one-tenth of an inch from the pattern to be analysed, which may impose limitations on many sorts of fashionable experiments. The proposed 3D printed lenses, in response to the researchers, improve the working distance between the lens entrance and the pattern floor, by over two orders of magnitude. This doubtlessly opens up new views for a large class of optical experiments.

Scanning electron microscope image of 3D-printed aspherical microlenses. Photo via University of Warsaw.Scanning electron microscope picture of 3D-printed aspherical microlenses. Photograph by way of College of Warsaw.

Producing microlenses with 3D printing 

The researchers set out by explaining that commercially accessible 3D printers have been experiencing fast growth, which has coincided with its appropriate supplies, together with clear media of excessive optical high quality. The development of 3D printing know-how alongside such supplies opens up new prospects in lots of fields of science and know-how together with biology, drugs, metamaterials research, robotics, and micro-optics, the researchers state.

Demonstrating its functions in mild extraction and supply, the authors of the paper clarify that they’ve developed environment friendly elliptical microlenses that may be 3D printed on high of sunshine emitters. These lenses are described by the authors as “easy, value efficient, broadband, versatile and appropriate with different parts of extensively desired micro-optical programs,” whereas additionally working with out high-numerical-aperture optics. 

To fabricate the lenses, which will be fabricated on all kinds of samples, the workforce opted to make use of the DLW 3D printing course of, which is described within the paper as “a flexible approach able to printing lenses of nearly any form.” DLW is also referred to as two-photon 3D photolithography, a course of that permits the manufacturing of arbitrary 3D nanostructures. 

Such know-how is supplied by the likes of Nanoscribe, a German producer of two-photon additive manufacturing programs. Final yr the corporate launched the Quantum X, particularly designed for fabricating nano-sized refractive and diffractive micro-optics which will be as small as 200 microns.

In late 2019 researchers from Lawrence Livermore Nationwide Laboratory (LLNL) and The Chinese language College of Hong Kong (CUHK) achieved a breakthrough within the growth of two-photon additive manufacturing, accelerating the approach’s manufacturing velocity whereas limiting the sacrifice of decision. 

A microlens array 3D printed on a Quantum X machine. Image via Nanoscribe.A microlens array 3D printed on a Quantum X machine. Picture by way of Nanoscribe.

Benefits of ultra-long-working-distance spectroscopy

A key property of the 3D printed lenses offered by the authors is that they’re able to improve the extraction of sunshine emitted from semiconductor samples and reshape its outgoing half into an ultra-narrow beam. Due to this property, the researchers clarify that the lenses may help to get rid of the necessity for cumbersome microscopes required for performing optical measurements of single point-like mild emitters. The 3D printed microlenses additionally allow long-working-distance optical measurements (600 mm with a 1-inch assortment lens), which aren’t accessible so far with different spectroscopic methods, in response to the authors of the paper. 

Sometimes, commonplace spectroscopic microscopes measure roughly a handbreadth measurement, weigh as much as one pound (half a kilogram) and should be positioned at a really small distance from the pattern. This will trigger issues when trying to provide measurements in pulsed excessive magnetic fields, at cryogenic temperatures or in microwave cavities, which however can simply be lifted by the 3D printed lenses offered by the analysis workforce.

Moreover, the high-speed capabilities of the DLW 3D printing course of signifies that it’s attainable to provide tons of of microlenses on one pattern, which may help to allow way more time-efficient analysis and speculation testing. “Arranging them into common arrays offers a handy coordinate system, which precisely specifies the situation of a selected nano object and permits for its a number of measurements in numerous laboratories all around the world,” the researchers clarify. 

The analysis paper, “Extremely-long-working-distance spectroscopy of single nanostructures with aspherical strong immersion microlenses,” is revealed in Gentle: Science & Purposes, 9, 1 (2020) ( It’s written by Bogucki, A., Zinkiewicz, Ł., Grzeszczyk, M. et al

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Featured picture exhibits scanning electron microscope picture of 3D-printed aspherical microlenses. Photograph by way of College of Warsaw.

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