Nanoscale 3D printer that runs 100x faster than current models

A German startup called Nanoscribe says it will ship a nanoscale 3D printer in the second quarter of 2013, and that its device will run 100 times faster than similar devices currently in the market:

The technology behind most 3-D microprinters is called two-photon polymerization. It involves focusing tiny, ultrashort pulses from a near-infrared laser on a light-sensitive material. The material polymerizes and solidifies at the focused spots. As the laser beam moves in three dimensions, it creates a 3-D object.

Today’s printers, including Nanoscribe’s present system, keep the laser beam fixed and move the light-sensitive material along three axes using mechanical stages, which slows down printing. To speed up the process, Nanoscribe’s new tool uses a tiny moving mirror to reflect the laser beam at different angles. Thiel says generating multiple light beams with a microlens array could make the process even faster.

The smallest features that can be created using the Nanoscribe printer measure about 30 nanometers, says Julia Greer, professor of materials science at the California Institute of Technology.

Micro 3-D Printer Creates Tiny Structures in Seconds [Prachi Patel/MIT Technology Review]

(via Beyond the Beyond)


    1. This is all I got so far:
      – “With Nanoscribe’s mirror system and photoresist solution, the firm can print beautifully elaborate structures that will serve a number of industries, including quantum computation and biotechnology.  Nanoprinting will allow for the creation of nanocircuits and metamaterials and printing organic tissue at the nanoscale.” via

  1. I can imagine a whole lot of uses for this thing in the lab.  The article doesn’t mention what materials it’s capable of using, but there’s a whole lot of things you could do with this.

    1. Photopolymers. It’s essentially using a laser to cure a photoresist. But, they pick the wavelength so you need simultaneous 2-photon absorption to polymerize – which only happens in the very center of the beam, the most intense part. Hence the high resolution.

      1. Hmm. It seems like the developing time would depend on the actual structure you created, which could be a little tricky, but it would still beat using a FIB.

  2. Features that small are going to be perfect for implanting into people, animals, and plants. The Bionic Man meets Fantastic Voyage.

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