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Compensation of spherical aberration influences for two-photon polymerization patterning of large 3D scaffolds

: Stichel, T.; Hecht, B.; Houbertz, R.; Sextl, G.


Applied physics. A 121 (2015), Nr.1, S.187-191
ISSN: 0340-3793
ISSN: 0721-7250
ISSN: 0947-8396 (Print)
ISSN: 1432-0630 (Online)
Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft DFG
Fraunhofer ISC ()

Two-photon polymerization using femtosecond laser pulses at a wavelength of 515 nm is used for three-dimensional patterning of photosensitive, biocompatible inorganic-organic hybrid polymers (ORMOCER(A (R))s). In order to fabricate millimeter-sized biomedical scaffold structures with interconnected pores, medium numerical aperture air objectives with long working distances are applied which allow voxel lengths of several micrometers and thus the solidification of large scaffolds in an adequate time. It is demonstrated that during processing the refraction of the focused laser beam at the air/material interface leads to strong spherical aberration which decreases the peak intensity of the focal point spread function along with shifting and severely extending the focal region in the direction of the beam propagation. These effects clearly decrease the structure integrity, homogeneity and the structure details and therefore are minimized by applying a positioning and laser power adaptation throughout the fabrication process. The results will be discussed with respect to the resulting structural homogeneity and its application as biomedical scaffold.