Commercial Direct Laser Writing (DLW) Machines

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Commercial direct laser writing systems are relatively new with the first firms offering such products emerging around 2007. The following is a short list of companies offering such products. There are broadly two categories of systems based on lasers sources used in them. The first category employs femto-second lasers and the second one uses nano-second lasers. 

Category I: Femto-Second Laser based Direct-Writing Equipments

Nanoscribe founded in 2007 has revolutionized two-photon lithography or laser direct writing. This company was a spin of from Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT). Their machines prominently use IR wavelengths for intitating two-photon induced processes. With in house material science capabilities they have also created coustomized photoresists with refractive index appropriate to allow dip-in lithographic fabrication. This has huge advantage of allowing fabrication of microstructres on a wide variety of substrates. Recently they have introduced the world’s first two-photon based grey scale lithographic systems. The approximate price of this systems range from 400,000-700,000 euros depending on options. This company currently offers two different two-photon laser direct writing devices: Photonic Professional GT2 which can be applied for fabrication of 3D microstructures and Quantum X for 2D greyscale lithography.

 Multiphoton Optics: Germany based multiphoton optics makes two-photon lithographic systems aimed at commercial production. They are one of the earliest makers of commercially viable two-photon lithographic equipment. The flagship two-photon setup from Multiphoton Optics uses a powerful femtosecond 532 nm laser which is split into multiple beams to achieve simultaneous fabrication of multiple structures.   This company was founded in 2013 and is a spin-off from Fraunhofer Institute of Silicate Research at Laser Zentrum Hannover (LZH). This especially interesting because the LZH developed the Ormocer type photoresists for fabrication of optical components 20 or so years ago. Multiphoton Optics currently positions itself as a technology suited for the optical component manufacturing landscape.

3. UP nano: is a spin-off of Technological University of Vienna (TU Vien). This company offers a two-photon direct writing instrument called nano OneTheir fabrication system uses fast galvano-mirrors for switching the direction of laser during fabrication enabling high-speed manufacturing. This company also has expertise in materials and offers photopolymerizable precursors suited for both photonic components and biological applications. Unlike many firms mentioned in this list this company has also commercialized their photoresists. The UP Nano machine offers features like “adaptive resolution” that enables the switching of resolution between high-resolution and low-resolution during a fabrication to speed up tasks. They also offer controlled environments for fabrication of biologically active materials.

Femtika: established in 2013 is a spin-off from Vilnius University Laser Research Centre. They position their two-photon lithographic set up called Laser Nanofactory  to do two-photon induced laser ablation, welding and polymerization. They demonstrate many examples of hybrid fabrication involving combinations of above three processes in their webpage. 

Category II: Nano-Second Laser based Direct-Writing Equipment

 Microlight 3D: This french company adapts cheaper nanosecond lasers for two-photon direct laser writing. This approach dramatically reduces the cost of the fabrication system without compromising much in the way of resolution. They offer three products; Altraspin and Microfab 3D are both two-photon lithography systems. The former is a bench top-model. They also offer a nano-second laser based greyscale lithographic system called Smartprint. The 3D structures fabricated by their systems have demonstrated applications in microfluidics, cell culture, micro-optics, surface structure, meta-materials, micro-mechanics, medical devices etc. This system offers high-resolution 3D microfabrication at a fraction of the cost of nano-second laser based systems. 

Note: I have complied this list from my experience and inputs from my colleagues, If you know of a company that has not been featured or would like to suggest any changes please comment below. Thank you in advance. 

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