Why glass?

Glass is a fascinating material and has many advantages like its outstanding optical transparency, thermal and chemical resistance and well known surface properties. Rapid prototyping and microstructuring has however been difficult and time consuming as structuring is commonly done using wet chemical etching techniques which require hazardous hydrofluoric acid.



What is "Liquid Glass"?

"Liquid Glass" is a nanocomposite containing amorphous silica, which can be structured using by room-temperature replication using soft molds. The solid polymer-composite component is subsequently thermally debound and sintered to a high-quality transparent glass. The resulting glass is chemically and physically identical to commercial fused silica glass. Using “Liquid Glass” it is possible to convert arbitrary physical objects in almost any material into glass rapidly and conveniently with feature sizes in the range of tens of micrometers and surface roughness in the range of a few nanometers. Lamination of cured “Liquid Glass” allows the creation of complex physical structures with e.g. closed cavities or microfluidic channels.



3D printing of transparent fused silica glass | Paper | Media Coverage

In April of 2017 we published our very first paper in Nature.

See our video for more details on this technology.




Associated Publications

Journal Papers

F. Kotz, K. Arnold, W. Bauer, D. Schild, N. Keller, K. Sachsenheimer, T. M. Nargang, C. Richter, D. Helmer, B. E. Rapp: "Three-dimensional Printing of Transparent Fused Silica Glass", Nature, 544, 337-339, 2017 | Link | Video | Media Coverage

D. Helmer, A. Voigt, S. Wagner, N. Keller, K. Sachsenheimer, F. Kotz, T. M. Nargang, B. E. Rapp: "Suspended Liquid Subtractive Lithography: One-step generation of 3D channel geometries in viscous curable polymer matrices", Nature Scientific Reports 7, 7387, 2017 | Link

F. Kotz, K. Plewa, W. Bauer, N. Schneider, N. Keller, T. Nargang, D. Helmer, K. Sachsenheimer, M. Schäfer, M. Worgull, C. Greiner, C. Richter, B. E. Rapp: “Liquid Glass: A Facile Soft Replication Method for Structuring Glass”, Advanced Materials, 2016 | Link | Video | Media Coverage

E. Wilhelm, K. Deshpande, F. Kotz, D. Schild, N. Keller, S. Heissler, K. Sachsenheimer, K. Länge, C. Neumann, B. E. Rapp: “Polysiloxane layers created by sol-gel and photochemistry: Ideal surfaces for rapid, low-cost and high-strength bonding of epoxy components to polydimethylsiloxane”, Lab Chip, 15, 1772-1782, 2015 | Link

T. M. Nargang, L. Brockmann, P. Nikolov, D. Schild, D. Helmer, N. Keller, K. Sachsenheimer, E. Wilhelm, L. Pires, M. Dirschka, A. Kolew, M. Worgull, S. Giselbrecht, C. Neumann, B. E. Rapp: “Liquid polystyrene: a room-temperature photocurable soft lithography compatible pour-and-cure-type polystyrene”, Lab Chip (special issue “Emerging Investigators"), 14, 2698-2708, 2014 | Link

E. Wilhelm, C. Neumann, K. Sachsenheimer, T. Schmitt, K. Länge, B. E. Rapp: “Rapid bonding of polydimethylsiloxane to stereolithographically manufactured epoxy components using a photogenerated intermediary layer”, Lab Chip, 13, 2268, 2013 | Link

A. Waldbaur, P. Hettich, B. Carneiro, B. E. Rapp: “Computer Aided Microfluidics (CAMF) - From Digital 3D-CAD Models to Physical Structures within a Day”, Microfluidics and Nanofluidics, 15, 625-635, 2013 | Link


Books and Book chapters

Conference Contributions

F. Kotz, K. Arnold, B. E. Rapp: “Rapid manufacturing of microfluidic chips in glass”, poster, 20th International Conference on Miniaturized Systems for Chemistry and Life Sciences (µTAS), Dublin, Ireland, 2016

F. Kotz, K. Plewa, C. Richter, B. E. Rapp: “Rapid prototyping of microfluidic chips in glass using a soft-lithography-compatible manufacturing process”, poster, 19th International Conference on Miniaturized Systems for Chemistry and Life Sciences (µTAS), Gyeongju, Korea, 2015

F. Kotz, K. Plewa, W. Bauer, T. Hanemann, A. Waldbaur, E. Wilhelm, C. Neumann, B. E. Rapp: “Rapid prototyping of glass microfluidic chips”, talk, SPIE Photonics West, San Francisco, USA, 2015

F. Kotz, C. Richter, B. E. Rapp: “A new rapid prototyping method for the fabrication of microfluidic chips in glass”, poster, Gordon Research Conference, Mount Snow, USA, 2015