Additive Manufacturing of Micro-Optics

The German company Nanoscribe is 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. But the usual 3D printing technologies available in the market fail to meet the resolution and precision requirements of optical applications. However, 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 additive manufacturing approach allows to directly fabricate micro-optical components from polymers with optically smooth surfaces, high shape accuracy and significantly smaller geometrical and design constraints than standard fabrication methods. The additive manufacturing workflow also drastically shortens the design-iteration phase and ideas can be turned into functional prototypes within just a few days. Nanoscribe closes the gap between 3D printing and micro-optics with this flexible tool enabling unprecedented applications in micro-optics.”