15 years Nanoscribe 15 years Nanoscribe
A scientific spin-off on track
to key industrial markets

15 years of Nanoscribe – pioneers, milestones and impact on society

December 07, 2023

Nanoscribe birthday & Christmas party

With a small yet joyful Christmas party, we celebrated the end of our jubilee year 15 at the Nanoscribe headquarters in Karlsruhe, Germany. A big thank you and shout-out to Team Nanoscribe for making another successful and innovative year possible with your ongoing hard work and valuable contributions!

October 19, 2023

Prof. Shoji Maruo visits Nanoscribe

Today, we had the distinct honor of hosting a special guest at our headquarters in Karlsruhe: Professor Shoji Maruo from Yokohama National University, Japan, stopped by our Microfabrication Experience Center.

In 1997, together with Prof. Satoshi Kawata, he succeeded in experimentally demonstrating Two-Photon Polymerization (2PP) for the very first time. As it turned out, their groundbreaking work in Two-Photon Polymerization became the foundation for countless innovations, scientific breakthroughs, and real-world applications in additive microfabrication.

In our Demolab, 25 years after his scientific breakthrough, he Prof. Maruo personally experienced the entire cutting-edge workflow and operated a Quantum X system to understand the user experience of the next generation microfabrication.
It was a moving and exciting moment when Prof. Shoji Maruo himself, 25 years after his groundbreaking invention, visited us to witness the evolution of his work. We had the privilege of sharing the state of the art in the world he set in motion with him, a thrilling moment for us.

July 08, 2023

Summer Party at Nanoscribe HQ

We had a remarkable summer party at Nanoscribe headquarters in Karlsruhe, filled with laughter, joy, and a strong sense of togetherness. Families and friends were treated to delicious food and drinks, while the highlight was undoubtedly our captivating Microfabrication Experience Center. Visitors of all ages were fascinated by the innovations and showcases in our demo lab and showroom! A big thank you to everyone who organized and attended this unforgettable day. It was an absolute blast!

Nanoscribe pioneers

It all started with the idea of additive manufacturing based on Two-Photon Polymerization (2PP). The path from a scientific vision to market-ready products, international sales and entry into significant markets often isn't a walk in the park. With these short interviews, we introduce the outstanding makers of Nanoscribe and their core values.

Our pioneer Holger

3 questions to Holger

How did you join Nanoscribe?

Still during my PhD at École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL), I was a participant of the Nanophotonic Erice Summer School in 2007, where I met Georg von Freymann, later co-founder of Nanoscribe. One year later, after finishing my PhD, I saw the job ad of the meanwhile founded company for an Application Engineer. In February 2009, I started in that position, which somehow included pretty much everything in the small company except sales.

Do you feel like you're part of a big story?

In the beginning, everything started quite steadily which gave us time to develop the system towards a solid platform. Initially, structure heights were limited to some 10s of micrometers in SU-8, a standard resist for 2D lithography. The real breakthrough came only in 2010 with the introduction of liquid index matched photopolymers in combination with the invention of dip-in laser lithography. At first, no one dared to dip the lens into the liquid photoresins. However, we simply tried it out with an old lens we found in the lab. Even the first attempt already enabled much higher structures with enormously better quality – the rest is history now.

What are you passionate about now?

We clearly perceive that several industrial markets for high-precision 3D printing in manufacturing are now taking off. That is why we are very firmly focusing on two topics: Industrial standards and scalability of production and services. Thus, global success brings new operational challenges. We are now fully committed to this. That's motivating, because it's becoming apparent that microfabrication will soon be able to provide benefits for society at all levels.

Our pioneer, Head of Systems Engineering, André Radke

3 questions to Wanyin

How did you join Nanoscribe?

Since I was only able to produce 2D structures with the established lithography tools in my PhD, Nanoscribe's 3D printers were very interesting to me personally. I applied to a job posting in 2011 and joined Nanoscribe as the first full-time sales representative, responsible for worldwide sales, except for German-speaking countries. In 2018, I got the chance to set up Nanoscribe's new office in Shanghai to expand sales and service to the huge Chinese market and the entire APAC region.

Do you feel like you're part of a big story?

From mid-2012 onwards, more and more high-ranking scientists began to take an interest in our systems. For me, the turning point was when we were able to sell the first system to Harvard University. Prof. Frederico Capasso, a highly recognized researcher in photonics and, in fact, a founder of the metamaterial concept, was visiting Prof. Martin Wegener at KIT. I got the opportunity to demonstrate the Photonic Professional system to him personally. He was really captivated on the spot and recommended his university to buy a Nanoscribe machine. This resulted in remarkable scientific successes in a short time, which in turn facilitated our sales.

What are you passionate about now?

I am simply convinced of these three principles in sales: You first need a really good product. Second, you have to consult customers truly supportive and with their goals in mind. And finally, enthusiastic customers are your best recommendation, which in turn makes selling easier. This is true for Nanoscribe in science and research as well as in industry.

Our pioneer, Head of Systems Engineering, André Radke

3 questions to André

How did you join Nanoscribe?

I discovered Nanoscribe shortly after its founding while I was working on my own lab-scale two-photon lithography setup and kept a close eye on this exciting startup. Eventually, my academic mentor Prof. Harald Giessen, University of Stuttgart, made the first introduction and then things took off very quickly.

Do you feel like you're part of a big story?

There were several "wow" moments. During our first user meeting in 2012, I was deeply impressed by the enthusiasm of our early customers and the wide range of emerging applications. My first contribution to Nanoscribe’s success then was the integration of galvo technology, increasing print throughput by a factor of up to 1,000. This breakthrough opened up new applications and attracted our first industrial customers. However, it was clear to us that the Photonic Professional System was not yet ready for industrial use beyond R&D. Therefore, we started an ambitious project to design a new platform from the ground up for maximum precision and industrial robustness, culminating in the market launch of Quantum X at LASER 2019 in Munich. Achieving our goal of demonstrating the first working machine live at our booth and winning the LASER Innovation Award gave us a big boost of energy.

What are you passionate about now?

Returning from our successful launch in Munich, it was clear to us that application-specific product and process development was just getting started. My focus now is on engineering microfabrication systems that are mature according to industry standards. Nanoscribe’s microfabrication systems with highest precision and speed meet the most demanding markets, taking the best in science and industry to the next level.

Our pioneer, CSO & Co-Founder of Nanoscribe, Dr. Michael Thiel

3 questions to Michael

How did you join Nanoscribe?

I was working on my diploma thesis at the KIT Institute for Applied Physics at the time when Michael Kaschke from ZEISS came to a visit and Prof. Martin Wegener suggested commercializing 2PP-based microfabrication. He already saw the technological potential in it. I was asked to join this venture. I agreed, even though there was no startup culture in Germany at the time and also no role models. Nevertheless, I was fascinated by setting up such a complex system - from optics to hardware and process development.

Do you feel like you're part of a big story?

In the beginning, the successes came step by step, with every device sold. Then, in 2013, things got a real boost with the introduction of galvo technology, reinforced by the PRISM Award 2014. Yes, indeed, we have a key enabling technology, and lots of ideas with the potential for significant innovation – we are right in the middle of a big story.

What are you passionate about now?

With various patented technologies and not least with Two-Photon Grayscale Lithography (2GL®), we have lots up our sleeves that will bring further innovative products with truly unique features for users in research and industry. We are heading towards specialized products for science and industry. And everything is progressing rapidly towards more quality, higher throughput and industrial reproducibility.

Our pioneer, CEO & Co-Founder of Nanoscribe, Martin Hermatschweiler

3 questions to Martin

How did you join Nanoscribe?

In 2007, I was working as a scientist at the KIT’s Institute of Applied Physics designing complex 3D photonic crystals, for which Two-Photon Polymerization (2PP) was already being used very successfully at that time as an experimental manufacturing technology. When, together with ZEISS, the idea emerged to transfer a lab setup into a commercial product and founding a company, I was immediately ready to join. It is a rare gift in history to recognize and seize the opportunity when a key enabling technology is emerging and taking it from the ground to the market – with the mission of making small things matter.

Do you feel like you're part of a big story?

I had this conviction before we even started up. The opportunities at that time arising from this technology were already mind-blowing for me as a researcher. Very successful interdisciplinary collaborations underpinned that there is much more beyond the beauty of physics. Hence, our first business plans – despite being really ambitious – materialized because of pioneering customers who themselves laid the foundation and made their fame in new fields of application. They took this pearl of technology and materialized ground-breaking ideas. Numerous of the foreseen markets evolved over time and eventually became a standard in the industries. In addition, new markets were explored by our customers which we had not foreseen in the early phase of the company's formation. This synergetic interplay between us and our enabled customers ultimately made us establish as worldwide recognized leader in high-precision additive manufacturing.

What are you passionate about now?

Today, we are able to offer science and industry a diversified product portfolio with an incredibly powerful key enabling technology. This fit of our offer to the markets generates new innovations, from basic and applied research to industrial products with embedded micro-printed or molded parts. From a bird’s perspective, the technology and its ability to penetrate markets is still in its infancy. There is so much more to explore to make our vision come true, to empower cutting edge science and to drive industrial innovations – to the benefit of everyone. This can be seen by the growing number of scientific spin-offs from academic institutions utilizing our 3D printers – may it be in the field of microoptics or integrated photonics. In addition, there is a whole new dynamic in the life sciences, where being part of the BICO Group opens completely new opportunities for us. The spirit of entrepreneurship is as timely as in the early days, as reflected in our motto: Think big. Print nano.

December 15, 2022

15 years Nanoscribe & Christmas party

We celebrated our 15th anniversary at our headquarters in Karlsruhe. In a cheerful atmosphere, we were looking back on the great achievements of these years and, in keeping with the season, toasted with mulled wine to the innovations still to come with our technology. Many thanks to Team Nanoscribe for your hard work and ongoing, valuable contributions to our success and development!

December 12, 2022

Enabling innovation by setting the benchmark for 3D nano- and microfabrication

Founded on December 12, 2007, the science spin-off at the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) very quickly succeeded in getting the first prototype of a 3D printer based on the principle of Two-Photon Polymerization (2PP) up and running. As a pioneer, we managed to establish 2PP as a key enabling technology pretty soon.
Today, 15 years later, we look back with pride and gratitude to our customers and partners and the innovations they have been able to achieve – with the help of our 3D Microfabrication technology and amazing products.
Take 180 seconds to check out the video.

15 years Nanoscribe - short video
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