Microlight3D at the SPIE. Conference

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Principle

Based on the non-linear two-photon absorption phenomenon, our technology creates a solid 3D-printed structure from a photoactivable material.

The photo-material is transparent at the wavelength used by our pulsed laser, so nothing happens in the focalization cone. However, at the focal spot only, the photo-material can absorb simultaneously two photons in a very small volume called “voxel”. A chemical reaction starts, and the liquid monomer becomes a solid polymer inside the voxel.

With the right combination of optical elements and monomer-material, the voxel diameter may be as small as 0.2 µm, and sometimes less! That is why our technology is perfectly adapted for ultra-high resolution 3D printing.

Led by our proprietary software, the microFAB-3D laser moves freely inside the material to create a solid structure.
The laser can even go through polymerized parts, so the voxel is moved freely in three dimensions inside the monomer, therefore any 3D shape can be created: overhangs without supports, volumes inside others, hollow channels…
A wide range of materials can be used, such as various photo-polymers, bio-compatible materials, and even proteins and other biomaterials.

A unique green-laser based technology

The two-photon polymerization (2PP) technology used in microFAB-3D systems is the result of 15 years of fundamental research at the University of Grenoble Alpes (UGA), the first scientific publications dating from 2002.

The researchers have demonstrated that the control of laser-pulses in the sub-nanosecond regime, together with a careful mastering of the non-linear laser-polymer interaction, can create ultra narrow and reproducible voxels, which is the base for high-resolution and high-smoothness 3D printing. Furthermore, they have demonstrated that the voxel could be positioned, and moved freely, anywhere in the volume of the resin, slashing away the layer-by-layer approach of the classical Additive Manufacturing technologies, and opening the way to true generative-printing.

These innovations allow Microlight3D to bring 3D printers to the market with unique characteristics, in terms of highest printing-resolution, compactness, and flexibility of use.
It also provides better reliability because these industrial lasers last a very long time with no need for yearly maintenance.

Resolution

The photo-material, the wavelength of the laser and the objective used for the fabrication have an impact on the printing resolution.

Our 532 nm wavelength ensures therefore a ultra-high 3D-printing resolution below 0.2 microns, using a 1.25 numerical aperture immersion objective.

Nota bene : the laser pulse duration has no visible impact on the resolution.

Our 3D-micro-printing systems are provided with a standard minimal resolution of 0.2 µm.

However some microFAB-3D users have achieved a lateral resolution in a 3D structure of less than 100 nanometers!

Alignment

microFAB-3D.Advanced is equipped with a feedback camera and a dedicated software feature giving you the ability to align and print directly on already-patterned substrates, or even the tip of optical fibers.

Using the starting point of the fabrication and the imprint of the 3D model on the camera, you can easily and finely adjust the 3D-object location with a less than 1µm precision.

Scientific publications

The Microlight3D two-photon polymerization technology

was used for many publications