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Optics Express

Optics Express

  • Editor: C. Martijn de Sterke
  • Vol. 18, Iss. 21 — Oct. 11, 2010
  • pp: 21815–21825

Film-free laser forward printing of transparent and weakly absorbing liquids

M. Duocastella, A. Patrascioiu, J. M. Fernández-Pradas, J. L. Morenza, and P. Serra  »View Author Affiliations

Optics Express, Vol. 18, Issue 21, pp. 21815-21825 (2010)

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A laser-based technique for printing transparent and weakly absorbing liquids is developed. Its principle of operation relies in the tight focusing of short laser pulses inside the liquid and close to its free surface, in such a way that the laser radiation is absorbed in a tiny volume around the beam waist, with practically no absorption in any other location along the beam path. If the absorbed energy overcomes the optical breakdown threshold, a cavitation bubble is generated, and its expansion results in the propulsion of a small fraction of liquid which can be collected on a substrate, leading to the printing of a microdroplet for each laser pulse. The technique does not require the preparation of the liquid in thin film form, and its forward mode of operation imposes no restriction concerning the optical properties of the substrate. These characteristics make it well suited for printing a wide variety of materials of interest in diverse applications. We demonstrate that the film-free laser forward printing technique is capable of printing microdroplets with good resolution, reproducibility and control, and analyze the influence of the main process parameter, laser pulse energy. The mechanisms of liquid printing are also investigated: time-resolved imaging provides a clear picture of the dynamics of liquid transfer which allows understanding the main features observed in the printed droplets.

© 2010 OSA

OCIS Codes
(140.3440) Lasers and laser optics : Laser-induced breakdown
(140.7090) Lasers and laser optics : Ultrafast lasers
(310.1860) Thin films : Deposition and fabrication
(350.3390) Other areas of optics : Laser materials processing
(110.6915) Imaging systems : Time imaging

ToC Category:
Lasers and Laser Optics

Original Manuscript: July 22, 2010
Revised Manuscript: September 10, 2010
Manuscript Accepted: September 10, 2010
Published: September 29, 2010

M. Duocastella, A. Patrascioiu, J. M. Fernández-Pradas, J. L. Morenza, and P. Serra, "Film-free laser forward printing of transparent and weakly absorbing liquids," Opt. Express 18, 21815-21825 (2010)

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