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Nanoscribe, a specialist Two-Photon Polymerization (2PP) 3D printing technology, has announced the launch of its new Quantum X align 3D printer.
Debuted at Photonics West 2022 in San Francisco, the high-precision microprinter is reportedly the first 3D printer capable of printing freeform micro-optical elements directly onto optical fibers and photonic chips. It does this with the help of automatic nano-precision alignment functionality, a feature foreign to other microprinters.
As such, the Quantum X align is designed to enable reliable light coupling via the fabrication of Free Space Microoptical Interconnects (FSMI) between chips and optical fibers.
“With the addition of the new Quantum X align to our industry-proven Quantum X platform, we are enriching Two-Photon Polymerization with powerful alignment technologies that drive the ever-increasing demand in data communications, telecommunications, and sensing applications,” said Martin Hermatschweiler, CEO and co-founder of Nanoscribe. “Our goal is to address the challenges of efficient coupling in photonic packaging and make high-precision 3D printing the technology of choice in integrated photonics.”
Down to the nanoscale with Nanoscribe
Nanoscribe was founded in 2007 as a spin-off of the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) and specializes in 2PP-based 3D printers. In June 2021, the firm was acquired by bioprinting company BICO Group (formerly CELLINK) in a deal worth €50 million in cash, shares, and earn-outs.
With over 3,000 users at universities, research institutions, and industrial firms around the world, Nanoscribe has made a name for itself in the microprinting space. The company’s product portfolio is a steadily growing one and now includes the Quantum X, Quantum X shape, Quantum X bio, and the Photonic Professional GT2.
To enable applications in microfluidics and micro-optics, Nanoscribe also has its own range of specialist resins on offer. These include the IP Photoresin series for photopolymer parts and the GP-Silica material for silica glass microstructures.
The Quantum X align
Photonic integrated circuits (PIC) are expected to help accelerate the computing power of today’s microelectronics while slashing power consumption to new lows. Unfortunately, the production of PIC devices requires tedious placement and active alignment of the various microoptical elements to form interconnects. Nanoscribe’s latest innovation is designed to address this issue.
The Quantum X align automatically detects the optical interfaces and spatial orientations of photonic chips and fiber cores, enabling it to 3D print freeform microoptics directly in place. The system even takes element tilt into account, eliminating the need for manual active alignment, which is often a costly procedure. Nanoscribe claims the machine can achieve alignment accuracies of down to 100nm in all spatial dimensions.
With a relatively large print area measuring 50 x 50mm, the Quantum X align is versatile in its applications. The system’s capabilities make it well suited to everything from microfluidics and sensor systems to miniaturized medical devices for procedures such as minimally invasive endoscopy.
The Quantum X align is a finalist for the Prism Awards 2022 in the category ‘Manufacturing and Test’.
Technical specifications and pricing
Below are the technical specifications for the Quantum X align 3D printer. Readers interested in purchasing the system should contact Nanoscribe for a quote.
|Print area||50 x 50mm|
|Alignment precision||100nm (XY)/500nm (Z)|
|Surface roughness (Ra)||10nm|
|Shape accuracy (Sa)||250nm|
|Feature size control||100nm|
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Featured image shows the Nanoscribe Quantum X align. Photo via Nanoscribe.