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Author ORCID Identifier



Campus-Only Access for One (1) Year

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Degree Program

Polymer Science and Engineering

Year Degree Awarded


Month Degree Awarded


First Advisor

James J Watkins

Second Advisor

Thomas J McCarthy

Third Advisor

Amir Arbabi

Subject Categories

Ceramic Materials | Nanoscience and Nanotechnology | Polymer and Organic Materials | Polymer Chemistry | Semiconductor and Optical Materials


Advanced nanooptics in the areas of flat lenses, diffractive elements, and tunable emissivity require a route to high throughput manufacturing. Nanooptics are often demanding of high refractive index materials, nanometer precision and ease of fabrication. Nanoimprint lithography (NIL) is a low-cost, high throughput manufacturing technique beginning to be realized in commercial industry.1,2 The NIL process is an ideal manufacturing candidate due to its ability to have a fast process time, efficient use of materials, repeatability and high precision while also having wide diversity of potential structures and material choices. Appling NIL techniques to other facets of manufacturing enable the production of a variety of optical structures that require more strict material or optical properties in combinations of layered materials to provide desired optical contrast or performance.

This Dissertation is designed to study potential new avenues for improving NIL manufacturing through better composite formulation, processing and patterning as well as its applications in final devices. Chapter 1 introduces a variety of fundamental concepts surrounding optical devices, material selection, and applicable advanced techniques for improving NIL techniques. Chapter 1 then emphasizes the applicability of these processes in high throughput manufacturing techniques such as wafer-based manufacturing for rigid substrates and roll-to-roll manufacturing for laminates or flexible substrates. Chapter 2 demonstrates a manufacturable use case for roll-to-roll manufacturing using a seamless drum master, providing a consistent, uninterrupted pattern through the duration of the imprint run.

Chapter 3 introduces composite formulation success using zirconia nanocrystals and a polymeric matrix, providing tunability of the imprint material to target a specific refractive index or match to the substrate of the device. Chapter 4 develops the formulation of titania nanocrystal composites, and their manufacturability into practical metalenses for light collection and focusing. Chapter 5 builds off of the materials developed in chapter 4 with the incorporation of metallized layers for more specific tailorable properties in absorption and reflection. Together, these chapters demonstrate how close NIL is to allowing for the inexpensive, high quality, and low waste manufacturing of a broad range of optical devices for commercial, industrial, aerospace, consumer, and computational markets.


Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.

Available for download on Wednesday, March 01, 2023