Case 13566

Optical 3-D nanopatterning technology for reversible photo-initiated transitions without high intensities


Nanopatterning, photonic devices, photopolymers, saturable transitions, reversible transition, photon-initiated transition, irreversible transformation, illumination, material mixture system, molecular resolution


2-D and 3-D metamaterials, photonic crystals, scaffolds for tissue engineering, nano-electromechanical systems (NEMs), templates for nano-imprint lithography, nano-bio chips


    Patterning in 3-D is extremely time consuming, and requires accurate overlay capabilities or high light intensities


This invention relates to a method of achieving nano-scale resolution in 3 dimensions using light (optical 3-D nanopatterning technology). The basic idea is to use a material system that can undergo reversible photo-initiated transitions. This method does not require high intensities; specific combinations of chemical species enable patterning, and the method makes use of spectrally selective reversible and irreversible transitions enabled by chemistry. Saturating one of the reversible transitions with an optical node allows for retaining of a single molecule in one configuration compared to its neighbors. By using a separate irreversible transformation, this molecule can be fixed.


    Does not require high light intensities

  • Professor Francesco Stellacci (Department of Materials Science and Engineering, MIT)
  • Rajesh Menon (Research Laboratory of Electronics, MIT)
  • Trisha Andrew (Department of Chemistry, MIT)

Intellectual Property:

U.S. Patent Application Number 12/749960, filed March 30, 2010


Trisha L. Andrew, Hsin-Yu Tsai, Rajesh Menon. Confining light to deep subwavelength dimensions to enable optical nanopatterning. Science, 324, 917-921 (2009).

MIT News: It’s a Fine Line- New method could lead to narrower chip patterns (April 9, 2009)

MIT News: Research Update- Sharpening the lines (December 14, 2011)

Last revised: April 29, 2013

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