Aug 9, 2017 | By Benedict

German 3D printing company Nanoscribe is using its Photonic Professional GT 3D printer to fabricate micro-optical shapes including standard refractive micro-optics, freeform optics, diffractive optical elements, and multiplet lens systems.

Initially created as a spin-off of the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology in Germany, 3D printing company Nanoscribe has since established itself on the global market as a provider of high-precision, micro-scale 3D printing technology and micro-optical solutions.

The German additive manufacturing company says its approach “combines a disruptive 3D printing technology with user-friendly software and innovative materials leading to reproducible and lean processes,” allowing customers to “overcome prevailing technological barriers.”

Using its Photonic Professional GT 3D printer, Nanoscribe recently demonstrated how it can produce various micro-optical shapes using a process of two-photon polymerization. These Photonic Professional GT 3D printers purportedly provide submicrometer features with optical quality surface finishes, as well as quick fabrication along the 3D printing workflow.

In the field of micro-optics, Nanoscribe says its 3D printing solution “disrupts and breaks with previously complex workflows, overcomes long-standing design limitations, and enables unprecedented applications driven by advanced micro-optics.”

In other words, the Photonic Professional GT is much unlike your average 3D printer, and can therefore be used to create functional optical products that would be impossible to produce on other machines.

The GT, in combination with the right materials and process, purportedly allows users to “directly fabricate polymer micro-optical components with significantly reduced geometrical constraints than standard fabrication methods, high shape accuracy, and optically smooth surfaces.”

The 3D printer also shortens the design-iteration phase, allowing users to turn ideas into functional prototypes within “just a few days.”

Products that can be fabricated on Nanoscribe’s 3D printers include micro-objective lenses with different focal lengths printed onto a high-resolution CMOS chip (known as “foveated imaging”), arrays of micro-optic hemispheres that have a shape accuracy of better than 1 μm and a surface roughness of better than 10 nm Ra, and diffractive optical elements (DOE) that have significantly smaller feature sizes than refractive optics.

If you hadn’t heard of Nanoscribe before now, you’re likely not a researcher at one of the top ten universities in the world. According to the German company, half of the top ten universities are now Nanoscribe clients, using the technology to for microfabrication and the production of micro-optics in a range of disciplines.

Nanoscribe won the 2014 Prism Award for Photonics Innovation and the 2015 World Technology Award, and was a finalist for the Deutscher Gründerpreis 2015 (2015 German Founders’ Award).

 

 

Posted in 3D Printer

 

 

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