Nanoscribe, the German company is currently developing and producing high-precision 3D printing solutions enabling the micro-optics industry to innovate by additive manufacturing. Typically, the benefits of additive manufacturing are considered to be fast and flexible design iterations as well as freedom of design. A broad range of almost arbitrary micro-optical shapes including standard refractive micro-optics, freeform optics, diffractive optical elements or even multiplet lens systems can now be printed in a one step-process by means of Nanoscribe´s Photonic Professional GT 3D printers, tailored solutions and materials.
The freedom of design provided by 3D printing also implies that almost any concave or convex or entirely freeform surface shape can be fabricated with this technique. Recently, e.g., researchers from the University of Stuttgart (Germany) directly 3D printed doublet lens systems onto CMOS image sensors thereby creating a high-performance and compact imaging system.
Using a Nanoscribe system, the fabrication of diffractive optical elements (DOE) which typically have significantly smaller feature sizes than refractive optics, is possible as well. DOEs can be designed for functionalities that are hardly accessible with refractive optics, such as the generation of almost arbitrary light distributions in the far-field. By means of a Photonic Professional GT, functional multilayered diffractive optical elements can be directly patterned onto glass substrates enabling rapid protoyping and design iterations within a few days. Nanoscribe’s 3D printer Photonic Professional GT are based on the technique of two-photon polymerization and allow for additive manufacturing with world-record resolution.