The printing process

A simple process where the highest resolution meets unmatched throughput rates

UpNano’s cutting-edge technology enables the printing of objects ranging in size from the sub-micrometer to the centimeter range, with heights up to 40 mm – all achieved in unprecedented speed.

The printing process utilizes a light-based printing method (and belongs to multiphoton lithography) for producing three-dimensional micro-components from plastic. A pulsed femtosecond laser serves as the light source, with the emitted laser beam focused into the viscous resin using high numerical aperture microscope objectives. By scanning the laser beam, the structure is printed according to the imported 3D model, resulting in fully polymerized polymeric components renowned for their exceptionally small and intricate structural details. With few exceptions for special materials, these components can be utilized directly without requiring any post-processing steps.

The choice of microscopy objective determines the size of the so-called voxel, or the focal point of the laser beam, and thus the polymerization volume. Resolution needs and the overall size of the object are critical factors in selecting the objective. Achieving optimal printing time requires striking the right balance between considering the smallest details and the total volume of the component to obtain a satisfying printing result and time.

Higher magnification objectives enable the production finer structural details. With 40x and 60x objectives, lateral details smaller than 200 nm can be realized, while the 5x objective allows for the production of macroscopically large components. The versatility makes UpNano printing systems the fastest and most advanced 2PP-3D printers on the market, covering a manufacturing range of 15 orders of magnitude.

Resolution adapted to the requirements of the component

Substantial improvements in throughput are achieved using the patented UpNano Adaptive ResolutionTM technology. This innovative software automatically categorizes selected geometry into high and low-resolution areas, adjusting the laser voxel size accordingly. The laser focal point is then tailored to the specific requirements of each segment: enlarged for bulk segments and precisely focused for the outer shells and fine details. This adaption can, metaphorically speaking, be described as a marker pen with two sides: the thin tip for details and the surface of the structure, and the thick side for swiftly filling in the inner areas.

UpNano’s printing systems feature powerful laser sources that enable simultaneous adjustment of laser power, ensuring homogeneous polymerization rates and consistent material properties. This not only enhances increase throughput by speeding up the printing of internal areas but also ensures that the highest resolution is applied precisely where needed. Alternatively, customers have the flexibility to manually customize resolution levels for specific areas and segment components according to their requirements.

High-volume segments

The laser focal point is enlarged, optimizing throughput while preserving the mechanical properties of the printed component in the so-called coarse mode. In this printing mode, the laser focal point is widened through the interaction of hardware and software, with the laser power adjusted accordingly.

High-resolution segments

The laser is tightly and precisely focused to achieve the highest possible resolution in fine mode. Depending on the selected objective, this enables the attainment of structural details as small as 200 nm, fully leveraging the capabilities of 2PP technology.

Outline mode

UpNano’s proprietary outline mode ensures high resolution and low surface roughness. The outlines of solid printed components are structured with utmost precision to fully exploit the potential of the selected objective. This mode is especially suitable for producing lenses with a surface roughness as low as <10 nm. By utilizing this mode, economical production of larger lenses is achievable while maintaining exceptional surface properties.