About the project :
Femtoprint aims to develop a 3D printer for the realization of microsystems in glass with nanometer resolution, in a volume not exceeding that of a shoebox. The aim is to give a large number of users from industry, research and universities, the ability to produce their own microsystems, rapidly, without expensive infrastructure or expertise. Recent research has demonstrated the ability to create three-dimensional patterns in glass using low power femtosecond laser beams.
This simple process can be applied to a wide variety of systems from micro to nanoscale dimensions. The patterns can then be used to make integrated optical components or be "developed" by etching to form three-dimensional structures such as channels for microfluidics and micro-mechanical components. This process also enables to achieve sub-micron resolution and to produce patterns smaller than the wavelength of the laser. The energy required being small, the process only involves a simple femtosecond oscillator.
Partners : CSEM, Quintenz, EPFL, University of Southampton, Amplitude Systèmes, Eindhoven University of Technology, Mecartex.
Overall budget : € 3.4 million
Funding : European Commission (FP7, NMP call)
First prototype of the "Femtoprinter", presented in December 2011 in Brussels, at the first European Innovation Convention