Real-Time Interferometric Monitoring System for Exposure Controlled Projection Lithography

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Jariwala, Amit S.
Schwerzel, Robert E.
Rosen, David W.

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University of Texas at Austin


Stereolithography is an additive manufacturing process in which liquid photopolymer resin is cross-linked and converted to solid polymer with an ultraviolet light source. Exposure Controlled Projection Lithography (ECPL) is a stereolithographic process in which incident radiation, patterned by a dynamic mask, passes through a transparent substrate to cure a photopolymer layer that grows progressively from the substrate surface. In contrast to existing stereolithography techniques, this technique uses a gray-scale projected image, or alternatively a series of binary bit-map images, to produce a three-dimensional polymer object with the desired shape, and it can be used on either flat or curved substrates. Like most stereolithographic technologies, ECPL works in a unidirectional fashion. Calibration constants derived experimentally are fed to the software used to control the system. This unidirectional fabrication method does not, by itself, allow the system to compensate for minor variations, thereby limiting the overall accuracy of the process. We present here a simple, real-time monitoring system based on interferometry, which can be used to provide feedback control to the ECPL process, thus making it more robust and increasing system accuracy. The results obtained from this monitoring system provide a means to better visualize and understand the various phenomena occurring during the photopolymerization of transparent photopolymers.


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