3D Printing of Micrometer-Sized Transparent Ceramics with On-Demand Optical-Gain Properties


Cooperstein I, Indukuri SRKC, Bouketov A, Levy U, Magdassi S. 3D Printing of Micrometer-Sized Transparent Ceramics with On-Demand Optical-Gain Properties. Advanced Materials [Internet]. 2020 :2001675 - 2001675.

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Transparent ceramics are usually polycrystalline materials, which are wildly used in many optical applications, such as lasers. As of today, the fabrication of transparent ceramic structures is still limited to conventional fabrication methods, which do not enable the formation of complex structures. A new approach for 3D printing of micrometer-size, transparent ceramic structures is presented. By using a solution of metal salts that can undergo a sol–gel process and photopolymerization by two-photon printing, micrometer-sized yttrium aluminum garnet (YAG) structures doped with neodymium (Nd) are fabricated. The resulting structures are not only transparent in the visible spectrum but can also emit light at 1064 nm due to the doping with Nd. By using solution-based precursors, without any particles, the sintering can be performed under air at ambient pressure and at a relatively low temperature, compared to conventional processes for YAG. The crystalline structure is imaged at atomic resolution by ultrahigh-resolution scanning transmission electron microscopy (STEM), indicating that the doped Nd atoms are located at the yttrium positions. Such miniaturized structures can be used for diverse applications, e.g., optical components in high-intensity laser systems, which require heat resistance, or as light sources in optical circuits.