December 12, 2022

Setting standards for 3D nano- and microfabrication for 15 years

15 years Nanoscribe - product evolution, from Photonic Professional to Photonic Professional GT2, to Quantum X and Quantum X align
Nanoscribe has made its way from a science startup to a globally successful high-tech company, setting standards for nano- and microfabrication with its high-precision 3D printing technology

15 years ago today, Nanoscribe was founded. As a scientific spin-off of the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT), the young company very quickly succeeded in getting the first prototype microfabrication system based on the principle of Two-Photon Polymerization up and running and delivering the Photonic Professional systems to the first customers. 15 years later, we look back with pride and gratitude to our customers and partners and to the innovations they have been able to achieve with the help of our 3D Microfabrication technology.

As a spin-off, Nanoscribe emerged from a research group headed by Martin Wegener, Professor at the Institute of Applied Physics and Institute of Nanotechnology at the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT). Together with Martin Wegener, Georg von Freymann, now Professor of Experimental Physics and Technical Physics at the Technical University of Kaiserslautern in Kaiserslautern, and Michael Thiel, now CSO of Nanoscribe, Martin Hermatschweiler, now CEO of Nanoscribe, founded the company as a GmbH (limited liability company) in 2007. Just one year later, Carl Zeiss Venture Beteiligungsgesellschaft acquired shares in the start-up. In June 2021 Nanoscribe joined the BICO Group.

15 years Nanoscribe

From two-photon absorption to high-precision 3D printing

With the postulate of two-photon absorption, Maria Goeppert-Mayer, who later won the Nobel Prize, laid the theoretical foundation for Two-Photon Polymerization (2PP) as early as 1931. It would take another three decades before Theodore Maiman developed the laser. The two Japanese physicists Shoji Maruo and Satoshi Kawata then proved the principle of Two-Photon Polymerization with an experimental laser setup in 1997. Only four years later in the working group of Prof. Wegener, the first laboratory setups for two-photon polymerization were started at KIT in 2001. This basic research finally laid the foundation for the commercialization of this radically new microfabrication technology.

The first 3D printer with nanoprecision

In 2007, Nanoscribe's first microfabrication system paved the way for Two-Photon Polymerization as a technology for 3D printing with submicron resolution. At first a scientific curiosity, Nanoscribe's Photonic Professional systems quickly evolved into a standard tool for the microfabrication laboratories of academia and research, with 9 out of 10 of the world's top universities using Nanoscribe's systems. Meanwhile, 2PP is a key enabling technology for many applications and with a continuously growing industrial market share. With its high-precision 3D printing technology, Nanoscribe has been setting the standards for nano- and microfabrication for 15 years now.

From pioneer to global market leader

Nanoscribe is a pioneer in the field of high-precision 3D printing and develops microfabrication technologies for the production of objects and structures in the size range from significantly less than a micrometer to several centimeters. What began in 2007 as a four-person spin-off, is now a company with more than 100 highly qualified employees. More than a third of them work in research and development, emphasizing the strong investment into this future-orientated key enabling technology. The former start-up succeeded in becoming a global player in an international network. Nanoscribe offers sales and support from its three locations in Germany, China and the USA – as well as through a worldwide network of certified distributors. More than 3,500 active system users are now part of the Nanoscribe community. Based on Nanoscribe's high-precision 3D printers, they are driving cutting-edge research and industrial innovation in areas such as microoptics, integrated photonics, photonics packaging, micromechanics, materials development and microfluidics, and life sciences.

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