The Nanotechnology Department at the LZH has existed since 2004. The main work of the department is in the development of new technologies for the generation of micro- and nano-structured objects, and their applications in photonics, microfluidics and biomedicine. The different processes generated for these goals are mirrored in the work of the individual groups.
The Nanophotonics Group deals with investigation on producing and characterizing optical components for plasmonics and metamaterials using nonlinear 2-D /3D laser lithography. The Nanolithography Group deals with the development of new lithography systems, for example two-photon-polymerization systems (2PP) for rapid prototyping of microstructured implants. The Biofabrication Group and the Laser Micromachining Group were formed, and the Nano-Materials Group was integrated into the department. The Biofabrication Group investigates two-photon-polymerization (2PP) applications and a laser-based cell printing process for biology and medical uses. 3-D support structures – so-called scaffolds – are directly generated using 2PP, or through reforming biocompatible or biological materials, and then populated with cells. For investigations on cell behavior, or for tissue generation, vital cells are arranged in two- or three-dimensional patterns using the printing technique. In the Laser Micromachining Group, ultra-short pulsed laser-based material processing is being developed, investigated and optimized for industrial applications. The goal is to advance fundamental and application-oriented laser material processing on the micro and nano levels. The Nano-Materials Group explores the generation of nanoparticles and nanomaterials using pulsed laser ablation in liquids. Using this method, nanoparticles can be made of almost any material, with high purity and high process reliability, since potentially harmful emissions are prevented by the liquid ablation medium. Laser generated nanoparticles have many fields of application, especially in medicine and energy technology.
Applications and Funding Programs
Structures generated with short pulse laser lithography can be used to realize photonic and plasmonic components and metamaterials. These structures can also be used for surface functionalization, micromechanics and microfluidics, for example for producing 3-D scaffolds from biological cell material, or for implants for biomedical technology.
In order to be able to carry out the various research projects, the Nanotechnology Department is involved in different special research areas (SFB 599, Transregio 123) and diverse national (DFG SPP1391, BMBF, DAAD, Leading Edge Cluster REMEDIS) and European and international projects. Of special mention is the participation of the Nanotechnology Department in the Clusters of Excellence QUEST and REBIRTH. Furthermore, the department offers a commercially available, compact system for generating 3-D micro and nanostructures using two-photon-polymerization. This turnkey system, which is being continually improved, can be used to make complex 3-D structures quickly and easily.
The department cultivates wide-reaching networks with universities and industrial partners on a European and an international level.