Although conventional computer technology made a huge leap forward in the past decade, a vast number of computational problems remain inaccessible due to their inherently complex nature. One solution to deal with this computational complexity is to highly parallelize computations and to explore new technologies beyond semiconductor computers. Here, we report on initial results leading to a device employing a biological computation approach called network-based biocomputation (NBC). So far, the manufacturing process relies on conventional Electron Beam Lithography (EBL). However we show first promising results expanding EBL patterning to the third dimension by employing Two-Photon Polymerization (2PP). The nanofabricated structures rely on a combination of physical and chemical guiding of the microtubules through channels. Microtubules travelling through the network make their way through a number of different junctions. Here it is imperative that they do not take wrong turns. In order to decrease the usage of erroneous paths in the network a transition from planar 2-dimensional (mesh structure) networks to a design in which the crossing points of the mesh extend into the 3rd dimension is made. EBL is used to fabricate the 2D network structure whereas for the 3D-junctions 2PP is used. The good adaptation of the individual technologies allows for the possibility of a future combination of the two complementary approaches.
Two-Photon Polymerization (2PP) has attracted broad interest for the fabrication of microoptical elements due to its design flexibility and precision. Along with tailored hybrid polymers a higher level of functional integration and new application concepts are enabled. As the entire volume of the desired 3D structure is filled in a point-by-point fashion, the fabrication can require several days inhibiting the adoption of 2PP as an additive manufacturing process at industrial level. We review different strategies to overcome the limitation in throughput and their impact on the patterning result. Particularly, processing using galvoscanner technology and replication of 2PP structures are highlighted.
We demonstrate the printing of a complex smart integrated system using only five functional inks: the fluoropolymer
P(VDF:TrFE) (Poly(vinylidene fluoride trifluoroethylene) sensor ink, the conductive polymer PEDOT:PSS (poly(3,4
ethylenedioxythiophene):poly(styrene sulfonic acid) ink, a conductive carbon paste, a polymeric electrolyte and SU8 for
separation. The result is a touchless human-machine interface, including piezo- and pyroelectric sensor pixels (sensitive
to pressure changes and impinging infrared light), transistors for impedance matching and signal conditioning, and an
electrochromic display. Applications may not only emerge in human-machine interfaces, but also in transient
temperature or pressure sensing used in safety technology, in artificial skins and in disposable sensor labels.