Pattern-integrated interference lithography for two-dimensional and three-dimensional periodic-lattice-based microstructures
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Two-dimensional (2D) and three-dimensional (3D) periodic-lattice-based microstructures have found multifaceted applications in photonics, microfluidics, tissue engineering, biomedical engineering, and mechanical metamaterials. To fabricate functional periodic microstructures, in particular in 3D, current available technologies have proven to be slow and thus, unsuitable for rapid prototyping or large-volume manufacturing. To address this shortcoming, the new innovative field of pattern-integrated interference lithography (PIIL) was introduced. PIIL enables the rapid, single-exposure fabrication of 2D and 3D custom-modified periodic microstructures through the non-intuitive combination of multi-beam interference lithography and photomask imaging. The research in this thesis aims at quantifying PIIL’s fundamental capabilities and limitations through modeling, simulations, prototype implementation, and experimental demonstrations. PIIL is first conceptualized as a progression from optical interference and holography. Then, a comprehensive PIIL vector model is derived to simulate the optical intensity distribution produced within a photoresist film during a PIIL exposure. Using this model, the fabrication of representative photonic-crystal devices by PIIL is simulated and the performance of the PIIL-produced devices is studied. Photomask optimization strategies for PIIL are also studied to mitigate distortions within the periodic lattice. The innovative field of 3D-PIIL is also introduced. Exposures of photomask-integrated, photomask-shaped, and microcavity-integrated 3D interference patterns are simulated to illustrate the richness and potential of 3D-PIIL. To demonstrate PIIL experimentally, a prototype pattern-integrated interference exposure system is designed, analyzed with the optical design program ZEMAX, and used to fabricate pattern-integrated 2D square- and hexagonal-lattice periodic microstructures. To validate the PIIL vector model, the proof-of-concept results are characterized by scanning-electron microscopy and atomic force microscopy and compared to simulated PIIL exposures. As numerous PIIL underpinnings remain unexplored, research avenues are finally proposed. Future research paths include the design of new PIIL systems, the development of photomask optimization strategies, the fabrication of functional devices, and the experimental demonstration of 3D-PIIL.