Ultrafast laser lithography allows additive fabrication of 3D sub-micrometric size objects in various materials. Here we demonstrate significant new capabilities achievable with this approach by using hybrid organic–inorganic material as the initial medium for laser structuring, and adding a high-temperature post-fabrication treatment. Calcination at temperatures of up to 1500°C leads to decomposition of the organic component in the initial material, and sintering of the inorganic component into a stable matrix. This results in the final object composed purely of glass-ceramic material, and having volume and size significantly reduced in comparison to those of the initial object. Possibilities to control both the composition and degree of the thermal down-scaling will be demonstrated. The proposed new pathway to inorganic 3D nanoscale objects and structures is easy to implement, and allows one to significantly surpass the spatial resolution and feature size achievable using laser lithography only. We study optical properties of transparent inorganic microstructures and optimize them for specific photonic functions. In the future it may be useful in space and defense-related areas for realization of chemically and thermally resilient photonic components, such as narrow-band IR emitters and optical sensors to be used in nuclear power plants and other harsh environments.
D. Gailevicius, V. Padolskyte, L. Mikoliunaite, S. Sakirzanovas, S. Juodkazis, and M. Malinauskas, ”Additive-Manufacturing of 3D Glass-Ceramics down to Nanoscale Resolution,” Nanoscale Horiz., 10.1039/C8NH00293B (2019), online first.