Sub-diffraction limit laser ablation via multiple exposures using a digital micromirror device

Daniel J. Heath, James A. Grant-Jacob*, Matthias Feinaeugle, Ben Mills, Robert W. Eason

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

25 Citations (Scopus)


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.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)6398-6404
Number of pages7
JournalApplied Optics
Issue number22
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2017
Externally publishedYes


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