A research team led by the City University of Hong Kong (CityU) has successfully developed a new Vacuum Ultra-Violet (VUV) metal lens that can generate and focus the VUV light, a disruptive technology for the UV optics market.
VUV is used in semiconductor manufacturing, photochemistry and materials science. The focused VUV light source is much needed for nanolithography, materials processing, advanced manufacturing and other industrial fields.
However, it was costly to work with. VUV with wavelengths between 100 and 200 nanometers (nm), is highly absorbed by the oxygen in air, and the application of VUV requires a vacuum chamber or other specialized environment. Conventionally, very bulky and expensive systems with special and rare nonlinear crystals are used to generate and focus VUV light.
Limitations and challenges in applying VUV light
In addition, almost all types of glass used for conventional lenses are unsuitable for the VUV due to their strong absorption in this region. The few VUV transferable materials currently used for lenses are comparably fragile, imposing practical limitations on the manufacture and design of thin lenses.
To address the above limitations, Professor Tsai Din-ping, Chair Professor of the Department of Electrical Engineering (EE), and Dr. Chen Mu-Ku, Research Assistant Professor of EE, prepared a lot of a zinc oxide in the shape of a triangle with designed and manufactured at 150 nm in length. nano antenna to form a VUV metallics.
“We have developed a metallic lens with intricate nanostructures on a thin film of zinc oxide, which is able to focus VUV light. This metallic offers a compact method for non-linear VUV generation and focusing of the generated light,” said Professor Tsai, one of the corresponding authors of the article recently published in the scientific journal scientific progress titled “Vacuum Ultraviolet Nonlinear Metals†
The new VUV metals with a diameter of 45 micrometers (µm) can convert UV light with a wavelength of 394 nm into VUV light with a wavelength of 197 nm, focusing the VUV light on a small spot with a diameter less than than 2 microns. Tests at Rice University showed a focused light spot with 21 times higher power density.
Technological breakthrough revolutionizes the UV optics market
“Our VUV metal lens is compact, lightweight, effective and can be mass-produced through the semiconductor electronics fabrication process. This new and disruptive meta-device could revolutionize conventional VUV optics technology and its market,” said Professor Tsai .
The metal lens allows substantial streamlining of the VUV system design and enables more advanced applications. This work provides a useful platform for developing low-loss VUV components and increasing the accessibility of the VUV regimen.
This research is funded by the Area of Excellence Project (AoE), University Grants Committee/Research Grants Council of the SAR Government of Hong Kong. Professor Tsai is the project coordinator of the AoE project “Meta-optics, Meta-acoustics and Meta-devices”.
Co-authors of the paper include Professor Naomi Halas, Professor Peter Nordlander, Dr Michael Semmlinger, Dr Zhang Ming, Catherine Arndt, Dr Benjamin Cerjan and Dr Yang Jian of Rice University; dr. Tseng Ming-Lun of the National Yang Ming Chiao Tung University in Taiwan; dr. Huang Tzu Ting and Dr. Chu Cheng-Hung of the Academia Sinica in Taiwan; dr. Kuo Hsin-Yu of the National Taiwan University; and Dr. Su Vin-Cent of the National United University in Taiwan.
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