Two-photon polymerization initiators for three-dimensional optical data storage and microfabrication

Brian H. Cumpston, Sundaravel P. Ananthavel, Stephen Barlow, Daniel L. Dyer, Jeffrey E. Ehrlich, Lael L. Erskine, Ahmed A. Heikal, Stephen M. Kuebler, I. Y.Sandy Lee, Dianne McCord-Maughon, Jinqui Qin, Harald Röckel, Mariacristina Rumi, Xiang Li Wu, Seth R. Marder, Joseph W. Perry

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2266 Scopus citations


Two-photon excitation provides a means of activating chemical or physical processes with high spatial resolution in three dimensions and has made possible the development of three-dimensional fluorescence imaging, optical data storage and lithographic microfabrication. These applications take advantage of the fact that the two-photon absorption probability depends quadratically on intensity, so under tight-focusing conditions, the absorption is confined at the focus to a volume of order λ3 (where λ is the laser wavelength). Any subsequent process, such as fluorescence or a photoinduced chemical reaction, is also localized in this small volume. Although three-dimensional data storage and microfabrication have been illustrated using two-photon-initiated polymerization of resins incorporating conventional ultraviolet-absorbing initiators, such photopolymer systems exhibit low photosensitivity as the initiators have small two-photon absorption cross-sections (δ). Consequently, this approach requires high laser power, and its widespread use remains impractical. Here we report on a class of π-conjugated compounds that exhibit large δ (as high as 1,250 x 10-50 cm4 s per photon) and enhanced two-photon sensitivity relative to ultraviolet initiators. Two-photon excitable resins based on these new initiators have been developed and used to demonstrate a scheme for three- dimensional data storage which permits fluorescent and refractive read-out, and the fabrication of three-dimensional micro-optical and micromechanical structures, including photonic-bandgap-type structures.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)51-54
Number of pages4
Issue number6722
StatePublished - Mar 4 1999


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