Abstract

A low-cost, direct fabrication technique with a micrometer range resolution has been implemented for rapid prototyping of optical masks for photolithography and structured light and diffraction optics applications. Using a setup based on the optical unit of a compact disc–digital versatile disc burner, a low-energy infrared laser beam was focused on a thin polymeric layer with embedded absorbing carbon nanopowder coated on a transparent glass substrate. This allowed for the generation of a custom-made transparent pattern in a computer numerical control fashion. In addition to its great simplicity and repeatability, the method also enables grayscale contrasts for each pixel individually, and fabricated masks proved to resist high intensities.

© 2014 Optical Society of America

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