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Spatial control of photon energy has been a central part of many light-based manufacturing processes. We report a direct projection printing method for ultrathin structures with nanoscale thickness control by using a patterned evanescent field. The evanescent field is induced by total internal reflection at the interface between the substrate and a prepolymer solution, and it is patterned by a phase-only spatial light modulator. The ultrathin structure is printed on a high-refractive-index glass substrate through photopolymerization. An iterative algorithm is used to calculate the phase pattern for generating arbitrary holography images and making the image plane to coincide with the interface. The thickness of the pattern is limited by the penetration depth of the evanescent field. Experiment results demonstrated that polymer structures as thin as 200 nanometers can be patterned without significant process optimization. Such fine control in thickness could transform many techniques such as light-based 3D printing and laser direct-write manufacturing.
This article was published in the following journal.
Name: ACS applied materials & interfaces
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