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Project seeks to revolutionise 3D metasurface fabrication

A collaborative Horizon Europe project is developing industrial surface coating technology that exploits breakthroughs in multiphoton lithography and process modelling to manufacture high resolution 3D metasurfaces at a throughput viable for series production.

The metasurfaces will be capable of manipulating light with unprecedented flexibility and will open the possibility of designing and manufacturing smaller, lighter, and more environmentally friendly photonic systems.

This will be done through the replacement of bulky components and/or the chemical coatings currently used to enhance the efficiency and performance of optical products.

The FABulous Project, which stands for “FABrication of 3D metasurfaces to enable the next generation of high efficiency optical products”, is an initiative led by Aimen (Asociación de Investigación Metalúrgica del Noroeste, Spain).

The project is exploring novel methods for rapid (>10cm2/min) microfabrication of high-resolution (smaller than 200nm) 3D structures with a quality assurance and control system, as well as the development of new production tools to optimise the design and integration of the metasurfaces into functional products. The application of the technology and its potential to contribute to the design and manufacturing of more sustainable and circular European goods will be demonstrated in a series of optical components, lenses, light pipes, and micro-optics arrays.

A laser-based surface functionalisation process is being developed within FABulous to produce custom optical metasurfaces on flat, flexible, curved, aspherical and free-form substrates. In addition, new design tools are being developed to improve the performance and reduce the environmental footprint of the metasurfaces. 

Both the new process and design tools will be integrated into an advanced manufacturing platform to demonstrate high throughput fabrication of optical metasurfaces on non-planar surfaces, with the full flexibility of direct writing.

Additionally, a demonstration will be made of the design and fabrication of sensors, automotive daytime running lights and a solar power generator, all with higher efficiency and 20% reduced environmental footprints over their lifetime.

Finally, FABulous will also establish viable strategies and European supply chain(s) to speed-up the sustainable manufacturing of metasurfaces at large scale and at an acceptable price (<€0.20/cm2 manufacturing cost) for the target markets.

The project’s consortium is composed by 11 partners from six European countries: Aimen (Spain) | Multiphoton Optics (Germany) | Fraunhofer Gesellschaft Zur Forderung der Angewandten Forschung (Germany) | Institut Mines-Telecom (France) | Thales (France) | PSA Automobiles (France) | Idryma Technologias Kai Erevnas (Greece) | Innovation in Research & Engineering Solutions (Belgium) | Planopsim (Belgium) | Ficosa Adas (Spain) | Modus Research and Innovation (UK)

The FABulous Project has received funding of almost €5.5 from the European Union’s Horizon Europe Research and Innovation Action Framework Programme


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