Optical 3-D Nanopatterning Technology for Reversible Photo-initiated Transitions without High Intensities

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Patterning via optical-saturable transisions
Professor Francesco Stellacci
Department of Materials Science and Engineering, MIT)
External Link (people.epfl.ch)
Rajesh Menon
Research Laboratory of Electronics, MIT
Trisha Andrew
Department of Chemistry, MIT
Managed By
Jack Turner
MIT Technology Licensing Officer
Patent Protection

Patterning via optical-saturable transisions

US Patent 9,164,369
Confining Light to Deep Subwavelength Dimensions to Enable Optical Nanopatterning
Science, 15 May 2009: Vol. 324 no. 5929 pp. 917-921

Three-dimensional, nanoscale fabrication via patterning with low light intensities.


Applications include 2-D and 3-D metamaterials, photonic crystals, scaffolds for tissue engineering, nano-electromechanical systems (NEMs), templates for nano-imprint lithography, and nano-bio chips.

Problem Addressed

Currently patterning in 3-D is extremely time consuming, and requires accurate overlay capabilities or high light intensities


This invention relates to a method of achieving nano-scale resolution in 3 dimensions using light (optical 3-D nanopatterning technology). The basic idea is to use a material system that can undergo reversible photo-initiated transitions. This method does not require high intensities: specific combinations of chemical species enable patterning, and the method makes use of spectrally selective reversible and irreversible transitions enabled by chemistry. Saturating one of the reversible transitions with an optical node retainsa single molecule in one configuration compared to its neighbors. By using a separate irreversible transformation, this molecule can be fixed.


Does not require high light intensities