Nanoscribe launches its Quantum X align 3D printer – technical specifications and price


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Nanoscribe, a specialist in two-photon polymerization (2PP) 3D printing technology, has announced the launch of its new Quantum X align 3D printer.

Launched at Photonics West 2022 in San Francisco, the high-precision microprinter would be the first 3D printer capable of printing free-form micro-optical elements directly onto optical fibers and photonic chips. It does this using nano-precision auto-alignment functionality, a feature unfamiliar to other micro printers.

As such, the Quantum X alignment is designed to enable reliable coupling of light through the fabrication of free-space micro-optical interconnects (FSMIs) between chips and optical fibers.

“With the addition of the new Quantum X alignment to our industry-proven Quantum X platform, we are enriching two-photon polymerization with powerful alignment technologies that are driving 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 photonics packaging and make high-precision 3D printing the technology of choice in integrated photonics.”

The Nanoscribe Quantum X alignment. Photo via Nanoscribe.

Get down to the nanoscale with Nanoscribe

Nanoscribe was founded in 2007 as a spin-off from the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) and specializes in 2PP-based 3D printers. In June 2021, the company was acquired by bioprinting company BICO Group (formerly CELLINK) in a deal worth €50 million in cash, shares and earn-outs.

With more than 3,000 users in universities, research institutes and industrial companies around the world, Nanoscribe has made a name for itself in the field of microprinting. The company’s product portfolio continues to grow and now includes the Quantum X, Quantum X shape, Quantum X bio and Photonic Professional GT2.

To enable applications in microfluidics and micro-optics, Nanoscribe also offers its own range of specialized resins. These include the IP Photoresin series for photopolymer parts and the GP-Silica material for silica glass microstructures.

The Quantum X alignment

Photonic Integrated Circuits (PICs) should help accelerate the computing power of today’s microelectronics while reducing power consumption to new low levels. 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 solve this problem.

Quantum X alignment automatically detects optical interfaces and spatial orientations of photonic chips and fiber cores, allowing it to 3D print free-form 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 up to 100nm in all spatial dimensions.

With a relatively large print area measuring 50 x 50 mm, the Quantum X alignment is versatile in its applications. The system’s capabilities make it well suited for everything from microfluidics and sensor systems to miniaturized medical devices for procedures such as minimally invasive endoscopy.

The Quantum X alignment is a 2022 Prism Awards finalist in the ‘Build & Test’ category.

Different types of fiber-to-chip free-space micro-optical couplers (FSMO) 3D printed on the Quantum X alignment. Image via Nanoscribe.
Different types of fiber-to-chip free-space micro-optical couplers (FSMO) 3D printed on the Quantum X alignment. Image via Nanoscribe.

Technical specifications and prices

Below are the technical specifications of the Quantum X align 3D printer. Readers interested in purchasing the system should contact Nanoscribe for a quote.

Print area 50 x 50mm
Alignment accuracy 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 alignment. Photo via Nanoscribe.

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