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Whether micro or meso

The NanoOne printing system adapts the required laser spot size in accordance with the geometry and resolution of the component. This size defines the voxel size, which defines the smallest polymerizable volume of a certain optic element.

For filigree structures or microscale parts an objective with a high numerical aperture is used to achieve sub-micrometer laser spot and voxel size, respectively. Mesoscale structures are produced in the adaptive resolution mode, adjusting the laser spot size in accordance with the component requirements.

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A new era in 3D printing

The continuing trend towards miniaturization delivers ever more compact and powerful products with decreasing life cycles. The requirements placed on microparts in the production sector as well as in academic and industrial research are constantly rising. To keep up with these developments the industry is forced to constantly search for novel, more precise, efficient and profitable production methods.

Established 3D printing technologies such as stereolithography fail to reproduce these structures. Since the minimal resolution of such systems is in the range of 20 µm, fine detailed areas cannot be produced.

The NanoOne 3D printing system developed by UpNano enables our users from different sectors to fabricate high-resolution microstructured parts for their specific applications in a cost-efficient manner, beginning already with the very first produced batch. The variety of usage of this system ranges from electronics to microoptics and biocompatible applications in cell research.

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Taking the lead in microfabrication

With NanoOne from UpNano, production time and therefore unit costs for microparts can be reduced significantly. Due to an up to a 100 times faster scanning process we reduced the cycle time of an average micropart from 120 minutes down to 1 minute and 40 seconds. This is not only a reduction of the production time by a factor of seventy but also a 70-fold reduction of part costs.

This is how we do it

Our system gives users the ability to move from the CAD file to the final product in three steps and with just one software application.

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1. Preparation

The geometry is designed using a CAD program of choice. Alternatively pre-designed standard structures can be selected via the THINK3D software.

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2. Printing process

The laser beam is focused within a given material volume in accordance with the CAD file. Polymerization is induced exclusively in the focal point of the laser and enables pinpoint accuracy.

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3. Development

After the printing job has finished, unpolymerized material can be removed with a suitable developer solution or compressed air.

2-photon polymerization

UpNano’s high-resolution 3D printing system is based on 2-photon polymerization (2PP), which allows highest resolution in the sub-micrometer range. The 2PP technology takes advantage of the spatial selectivity of 2-photon absorption (2PA). The 2PA probability significantly reduces beyond the focus point, thus also the fluorescent volume is lowered, resulting in higher spatial resolution.

Direct comparison of the single and multi-photon beam path in fluorescence microscopy shows that 2PA only occurs in the focal point of the beam. Therefore, monomer crosslinking is induced only at the focal plane, as polymerization is dependent on this non-linear absorption – whereas the emitted light is absorbed along the whole beam in the case of 1-photon absorption.

This explains why parts produced with 1-photon based processes, such as stereolithography, are produced layer by layer, while 2PP parts can be produced in a pre-defined volume with a resolution of less than 100 nm.

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The way you print

NanoOne precisely moves the focused laser beam in the given material in accordance with the predesigned geometry. The process does not require time-consuming, repetitive material application steps, as material is polymerized within a given volume.

2-photon polymerization is induced by a multitude of femtosecond laser pulses, which in turn initiates polymerization of the given material. Depending on the requirements and the material used, microparts can be produced in bottom-up or top-down approaches.

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Bottom-up

The geometry is polymerized directly above the sample holder while the objective is moved upwards in Z-direction.

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Top-down

The objective is moved downwards, so the laser is not focused through polymerized material. Therefore, distortions and artefacts during the printing of comparatively large parts – in the range of a few millimeters – can be avoided.

High-volume segments

The laser focal point is enlarged in order to increase throughput, while maintaining the mechanical properties of the printed component.

High-resolution segments

The laser is tightly focused to achieve the highest possible resolution.

Adaptive resolution

Significant throughput increase can be achieved using the patented UpNano adaptive resolution technology. The software classifies the selected geometry in high and low-resolution areas and adapts the laser voxel size accordingly.

The laser focus point will be enlarged for bulk segments or precisely focused for the outer shell and fine details. Therefore, throughput can be significantly increased, with internal areas being printed faster.