Structuring of glass is challenging and usually requires high
temperatures to shape a glass melt or aggressive chemicals for etching
of microstructures. Glassomer is a silica nanocomposite which comes as a
liquid or a solid.
As a liquid Glassomer (e.g. Glassomer L50) can be structured by room
temperature replication or stereolithography 3D printing. As a solid
Glassomer can be structured using classical subtractive structuring
technologies like drilling, milling, lathing or simply carving with a
knife. It can further be structured using thermal polymer molding
technologies like nanoimprinting, thermoforming or high-throughput
roll-to-roll replication. A final heat treatment turns the polymeric
nanocomposites into high quality fused silica glass. The conversion takes place at 1300°C below the temperature for handling of silica melts (~2000 °C) and thus saves a considerable amount of energy.
The Glassomer Technology: Glassomer pre-glass materials are shaped by molding. The whitish brown part is converted to glass.
The sintered Glassomer parts are chemically and physically indistinguishable from commercial fused silica glass. They show the same high optical transparancy in the UV, visible and infrared region combined with the high thermal and chemical stabililty as well as the same mechanical strength and hardness of commercial fused silica glass. Glassomer allows for the first time to structure high quality fused silica glass using polymer processing technologies with resolutions of a few micrometers and surface roughnesses of a few nanometers fully compatible with the demands of optics and photonics.
UV-Transmission @ 200 nm: 84 %
VIS-Transmission @ 300-1000 nm: >92 %
IR-Transmission @ 1000-3400 nm: >90 %
Bending strength: 115 MPa
Vickers Hardness: 980 HV
Therm. Expansion: 0.52 x 10-6 1/K
Contact angle water: 36 °
Surface energy: 60 mN/m
Check out the scientific background of the Glassomer Technology, published in the most prestigeous international peer-reviewed Journals such as Nature and Nature:
M.Mader, et al.: "High-throughput injection molding of transparent fused silica glass", Science, 2021 | Link
F. Kotz, et al. : "Two‐Photon Polymerization of Nanocomposites for the Fabrication of Transparent Fused Silica Glass Microstructures", Advanced Materials, 33, 9, 2021 | Link
F. Kotz, et al. : "Fabrication of arbitrary three-dimensional suspended hollow microstructures in transparent fused silica glass", Nature Communications, 10, 1439, 2019 | Link
F. Kotz, et al.: "Glassomer®: Processing Fused Silica Glass like a Polymer", Advanced Materials, 30, 1707100, 2018 | Cover | Link
F. Kotz, et al.: "Three-dimensional Printing of Transparent Fused Silica Glass", Nature, 544, 337-339, 2017 | Link | Video