From the January 2017 issue of IEEE Transactions on Nanotechnology

Mechanical Properties Tunability of Three-Dimensional Polymeric Structures in Two-Photon Lithography

by Enrico Domenico Lemma; Francesco Rizzi; Tommaso Dattoma; Barbara Spagnolo; Leonardo Sileo; Antonio Qualtieri; Massimo De Vittorio; Ferruccio Pisanello
T-NANO, Vol. 16, Issue 1, pp. 23 – 31, January 2017.
Abstract: Two-photon (2P) lithography shows great potential for the fabrication of three-dimensional (3-D) micro- and nanomechanical elements, for applications ranging from microelectromechanical systems to tissue engineering, by virtue of its high resolution (<;100 nm) and biocompatibility of the photosensitive resists. However, there is a considerable lack of quantitative data on mechanical properties of materials for 2P lithography and of structures obtained through this technique. In this paper, we combined static and dynamic mechanical analysis on purpose-designed microstructures (microbending of pillar-like structures and picometer-sensitive laser Doppler vibrometry of drum-like structures) to viably and nondestructively estimate Young's modulus, Poisson's ratio, and density of materials for 2P lithography. This allowed us to analyze several polymeric photoresists, including acrylates and epoxy-based materials. The experiments reveal that the 2P exposure power is a key parameter to define the stiffness of the realized structures, with hyperelasticity clearly observable for high-power polymerization. In the linear elastic regime, some of the investigated materials are characterized by a quasi-linear dependence of Young's modulus on the used exposure power, a yet unknown behavior that adds a new degree of freedom to engineer complex 3-D micro- and nanomechanical elements.