Abstract

We present the use of digital micromirror devices as variable illumination masks for pitch-splitting multiple exposures to laser machine the surfaces of materials. Ultrafast laser pulses of length 150 fs and 800 nm central wavelength were used for the sequential machining of contiguous patterns on the surface of samples in order to build up complex structures with sub-diffraction limit features. Machined patterns of tens to hundreds of micrometers in lateral dimensions with feature separations as low as 270 nm were produced in electroless nickel on an optical setup diffraction limited to 727 nm, showing a reduction factor below the Abbe diffraction limit of 2.7×. This was compared to similar patterns in a photoresist optimized for two-photon absorption, which showed a reduction factor of only 2×, demonstrating that multiple exposures via ablation can produce a greater resolution enhancement than via two-photon polymerization.

© 2017 Optical Society of America

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