World's fastest 3D printer on micrometre scale

8 February 2013
By Sofia Mitra-Thakur
Mobile version
Share |
Writing time for a miniaturised spacecraft is reduced to less than one minute (credit Nanoscribe)

Writing time for a miniaturised spacecraft is reduced to less than one minute (credit Nanoscribe)

The world's fastest 3D printer of micro- and nanostructures will be unveiled at the Photonics West fair in San Francisco this week.

Nanoscribe GmbH, a spin-off of Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT), says the printer is based on a novel laser lithography method and can manufacture the smallest three-dimensional objects, often smaller than the diameter of a human hair, with minimum time consumption and maximum resolution.

“The success of Nanoscribe is an example of KIT’s excellent entrepreneurial culture and confirms our strategy of specifically supporting spin-offs,” said Dr. Peter Fritz, KIT Vice President for Research and Innovation.

“In this way, research results are transferred rapidly and sustainably to the market.”

Nanoscribe was founded in early 2008 as the first spin-off of KIT and is a market and technology leader in the area of 3D laser lithography. 

The 3D laser lithography systems developed by Nanoscribe are used for research by KIT and scientists worldwide.

Work in the area of photonics concentrates on replacing conventional electronics by optical circuits of higher performance.

Nanoscribe systems are used to print polymer waveguides reaching data transfer rates of more than 5 terabits per second.

Biosciences produce tailored scaffolds for cell growth studies among others.

In materials research, functional materials of enhanced performance are developed for lightweight construction to reduce the consumption of resources.

Among the customers are universities and research institutions as well as industrial companies.

By means of the new laser lithography method, printing speed is increased by factor of about 100.

This increase in speed results from the use of a galvo mirror system, a technology that is also applied in laser show devices or scanning units of CD and DVD drives.

Reflecting a laser beam off the rotating galvo mirrors facilitates rapid and precise laser focus positioning.

“We are revolutionising 3D printing on the micrometre scale,” said Martin Hermatschweiler, the managing director of Nanoscribe GmbH.

“Precision and speed are achieved by the industrially established galvo technology.

“Our product benefits from more than one decade of experience in photonics, the key technology of the 21st century.”

The direct laser writing technique underlying the 3D printing method is based on two-photon polymerisation.

Just as paper ignites when exposed to sunlight focused through a magnifying glass, ultra-short laser pulses polymerise photosensitive materials in the laser focus.

Depending on the photosensitive material chosen, the exposed or unexposed volume only is dissolved.

After a developer bath, these written areas remain as self-supporting micro- and nanostructures.

By means of the galvo technology, three-dimensional micro- and nanostructures can be printed rapidly and, hence, on large areas in principle.

At highest resolution, however, the scanning field is limited physically to a few 100 µm due to the optical properties of the focusing objective.

Just as floor tiles must be joined precisely, the respective scanning fields have to be connected seamlessly and accurately.

By the so-called stitching, areas can be extended nearly arbitrarily.

Latest Issue

E&T cover image 1606

"Where would Frankenstein and his creative mind fit into today's workplace? Should we fear technological developments or embrace them?"

E&T jobs

  • Manufacturing Development & Deployment Engineer

    BAE Systems
    • Preston, England, Lancashire
    • Negotiable

    Manufacturing Development & Deployment Engineer Would you like to help operate within a multi-disciplined environment working closely with TX, FCAS, JSF, Typhoon, Hawk and other projects to develop, deploy and support new leading edge manufacturing pr

    • Recruiter: BAE Systems

    Apply for this job

  • Information Assurance Practitioner

    BAE Systems
    • England, Cumbria, Barrow-In-Furness
    • Negotiable

    Information Assurance PractitionerWould you like to join a world class defence organisation and develop your skills in Information Assurance? We currently have a vacancy for an Information Assurance Practitioner at our site in Barrow-in-Furness, Cumbria.A

    • Recruiter: BAE Systems

    Apply for this job

  • Consultant Engineer - Information Assurance

    BAE Systems
    • Barrow-In-Furness, England, Cumbria
    • Negotiable

    Consultant Engineer - Information AssuranceWould you like to have a strategic influence on the development of Information Assurance (IA) policies for a national nuclear deterrence programme? We currently have a vacancy for a Consultant Engineer - Informat

    • Recruiter: BAE Systems

    Apply for this job

  • Systems Engineer

    National Air Traffic Services
    • Fareham, England, Hampshire
    • Negotiable

    NATS is a leading air navigation services specialist, handling 2.2 million flights in 2013/14, covering the UK and eastern North Atlantic. NATS provides air traffic control from centres at Swanwick, Hampshire and Prestwick, Ayrshire. NATS also provides ai

    • Recruiter: National Air Traffic Services

    Apply for this job

  • Software Engineer

    BAE Systems
    • England, Somerset
    • Negotiable

    Software Engineer Would you like a role which enables you to make a difference to people on the frontline? We currently have a vacancy for a Software Engineer at our site in Yeovil. As a Software Engineer, you will be developing product solutions in Java/

    • Recruiter: BAE Systems

    Apply for this job

  • Software Engineer

    BAE Systems
    • England, Hampshire, Portsmouth
    • Competitive package

    As a Software Engineer, you will be investigating how technology and data can be used to optimise the services we provide to our clients, including the Royal Navy, and will include unique pieces of equipment at the forefront of innovation.

    • Recruiter: BAE Systems

    Apply for this job

  • IM&T Manager - (Product Management)

    BAE Systems
    • England, Barrow-In-Furness, Cumbria
    • Negotiable

    IM&T Manager - (Product Management) We currently have a vacancy for an IM&T Manager - (Product Management) at our site in Barrow. As an IM&T Manager - Product Management you will be working within the planning support group, responsible for a

    • Recruiter: BAE Systems

    Apply for this job

  • Electronics Engineer

    Premium job

    Nikon Metrology Europe
    • Tring, Hertfordshire

    Nikon Metrology is looking for an Electronics Engineer to join our Electronics Team based in Tring (UK).

    • Recruiter: Nikon Metrology Europe

    Apply for this job

  • Electrical Training Officer / NVQ 3 Assessor

    Premium job

    JTL
    • Norwich, Norfolk
    • Competitive + Pension + Personal BUPA cover

    As a Qualified Electrician, you know what it takes to complete electrical work to exceptional standards of safety and quality.

    • Recruiter: JTL

    Apply for this job

  • Electrical Training Officer / NVQ 3 Assessor

    Premium job

    JTL
    • Dorchester, Poole or Bournemouth
    • Circa £29,000

    As a Qualified Electrician, you know what it takes to complete electrical work to exceptional standards of safety and quality.

    • Recruiter: JTL

    Apply for this job

More jobs ▶

Subscribe

Choose the way you would like to access the latest news and developments in your field.

Subscribe to E&T