3D printed photonics and free-form optics

3D printed photonics and free-form optics

3D printing (also known as additive manufacturing) is considered a third industrial revolution. Although multiple examples in aerospace, architecture, automotive, biotech (human tissue replacement), dental and medical industries, education, eyewear, fashion, footwear, industrial design, jewellery, military, food etc., the area that has been missing is optics. Dutch start-up LUXeXceL is the exception to the statement. They have invented the Printoptical® technology for 3D printing optical elements. Their technology is based on an inkjet printing process.

 

In collaboration with Luxexcel, our group will further develop the Printoptical® technology towards smaller features and more accurate surface control, larger selection of materials, novel optics and unique combination with other state-of-the-art micro-optics and nano photonics manufacturing methods as well as mechanics, electronics and biocompatible materials.

Until recently, because of over hundred years old manufacturing methods, optical elements have been either rotationally or linearly symmetric. Thanks to the progress of Computer Numerical Control (CNC) machines, freeform surfaces that depart from rotational symmetry for use at the wavelengths as short as one micron is possible. Freeform optics introduces innovative 3-dimensional solutions: one element contains more complicated and numerous optical functions with better performance than ever before. Thanks to freeform optics, optical system development is entering into the era of revolution.

Because of the nature of 3D printing (adding structured layers on top of each other), the method is ideal for freeform optics. Actually, 3D printing complicated freeform optics is as easy or difficult as printing perfect spherical lenses – “complexity is free” in 3D printing.

Novel strategies and algorithms based on our expertise in diffractive optics and results of forthcoming 3D printing experiments will be developed for free-form optics design. We aim at synthesizing design concepts in diffractive and free-from optics, and to develop hybrid optical elements and systems that employ both technologies.

Team:

Externally funded projects:

  • Photonics 4.0, the Federation of Finnish Technology Industries and Jane and Aatos Erkko Foundation, 2019-2021
  • Reference algorithms and metrology on aspherical and freeform optical elements (FreeFORM), European Commission, 2016-2019
  • Three-dimensionally printed optics, Academy of Finland, 2015-2019
  • ACE 3D – Accurate, cost-effective and easy 3D printing for MedTech component production, Business Finland, 2018
  • OPTI-PRO – Nanohybrid lens with integrated nanostructures for professional industrial applications, Tekes, 2017 – 2018
  • Freeform optics from prototyping to volume production (FOPRO2), Tekes, 2015-2017
  • 3D Printed Photonics – Phase I (3DPPI), Tekes, 2013-2015

Academic partners (present and former):

Industrial partners (present and former):

Academic partners (present and former):

Industrial partners (present and former):

    

 

 

    

See also