Photonics Dictionary

two-photon polymerization

Two-photon polymerization (TPP) is a technique used in additive manufacturing, specifically in the field of 3D printing. It involves using a focused laser to polymerize a photosensitive material in a precise and controlled manner. The process relies on the nonlinear absorption of photons, where two photons are absorbed simultaneously to initiate a chemical reaction that leads to polymerization.

Here is a breakdown of the key components and steps involved:

Photosensitive material: The material used for two-photon polymerization is typically a photopolymer. These materials undergo a chemical change, usually polymerization, when exposed to light.

Focused laser beam: A high-intensity laser beam is used to selectively expose and polymerize the photosensitive material. The laser is focused to a specific point within the material.

Nonlinear absorption: The term "two-photon" refers to the nonlinear absorption process. Instead of a single photon being absorbed to initiate the polymerization, two photons must be absorbed simultaneously. This occurs only in the very focal point where the laser intensity is high enough.

Precision and resolution: Since polymerization occurs only at the focal point of the laser, TPP allows for extremely precise and localized solidification of the material. This precision enables the creation of complex and intricate 3D structures at the micro and nanoscale.

Layer-by-layer buildup: Similar to other 3D printing techniques, the final object is built layer by layer. The laser is controlled to move within the material, solidifying it layer by layer according to the desired 3D design.

Two-photon polymerization finds applications in various fields, including microfabrication, microelectronics, and biomedical engineering, where the ability to create intricate structures at a very small scale is crucial. The technique is particularly useful for producing high-resolution and high-precision microstructures and devices.

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