Glassomer – 3D Printing of Transparent Fused Silica Glass

Seminar | February 10 | 11 a.m.-12 p.m. | 6153 Etcheverry Hall

 Dr. Frederik Kotz, Co-Founder and Chief Science Officer, Glassomer

 Department of Mechanical Engineering (ME)

Abstract: Fused silica glass is an important material due to its high chemical and thermal stability and its outstanding optical transparency, hardness and well known surface properties. Due to these properties fused silica glass is an interesting material for future applications in chemical synthesis or optics and photonics. However, structuring of glasses is difficult, especially when high-resolutions are needed. Structuring is usually done using wet chemical or dry etching with hazardous chemicals.

We have previously described a new technology to fabricate and structure fused silica glass. We have therefore developed nanocomposites (called Glassomer) which can be processed like a polymer e.g. by UV casting, 3D printing or high-throughput polymer replication. After the structuring process the nanocomposites are turned into fused silica glass via thermal debinding and sintering (see Figure 1). We have demonstrated that the sintered fused silica glass is chemically and physically identical to commercial fused silica glass. It shows the same high transparency in the UV, visible and infrared combined with the same mechanical strength, hardness and chemical and thermal resistance. A novel variation of the process called sacrificial template replication allows fabrication of arbitrary microchannel structures in fused silica glass. Hereby a polymeric template structure is embedded in Glassomer and leaves the inverse structure inside fused silica glass after the debinding and sintering process. Furthermore, colored glasses can be fabricated by doping the parts with alcoholic solutions of metal salts. Glassomer will enable many applications from optics and photonics and chemistry to life sciences and biotechnology.

Biography: Dr. Frederik Kotz studied mechanical engineering at the Karslruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) in Germany. During his PhD thesis he developed novel strategies for the fabrication of transparent glasses. His work has been published in Journals like Nature and Advanced Materials. He is Co-founder and Chief Science Officer (CSO) of Glassomer which is commercializing the technologies he developed. For his work he has been awarded among others the Innovators under 35 by MIT Technology Review Europe., 510-642-4901