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Microlight3D acquires microprinting company

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Micro-scaffolds printed by Microlight3D's two-photon polymerisation

Microlight3D, a manufacturer of 3D microprinting systems, has bought French firm Smart Force Technologies (SFT) to extend its product portfolio to include 2D microprinting.

The acquisition could benefit researchers working with microfluidics by developing combined 2D-3D microprinting systems. With such a system, researchers would be able to print microfluidic channels, as well as produce micro-features directly inside those channels, all using a single piece of equipment.

Smart Force Technologies is a manufacturer of a maskless lithography system for micro-scale 2D-printing. It is a spin-off from LTM, a French research centre focused on miniaturising micro- and nano-electronics devices.

Microlight3D’s microprinting technology is based on two-photon polymerisation with a resolution down to 0.2µm. It can print 10µm structures inside microfluidic channels, which are typically 100µm to 200µm in diameter, for instance. The addition of SFT gives Microlight3D capacity to address new needs of customers in microfluidics, microoptics, microsensors and microelectronics.

Denis Barbier, CEO of Microlight3D, commented: ‘We [Microlight3D] gain expertise in high-resolution 2D-printing that, combined with our 3D microprinting know-how, will lead us to develop new micro-fabrication systems. These future 2D-3D microprinting systems will respond to customer needs for faster, larger and more complex printing capabilities. Microlight3D is now in a stronger position to support a range of customer developments in the life sciences and increasingly in industrial applications.’

Using a single piece of equipment to print microfluidic channels and structures within the channels would improve accuracy and create more sophisticated devices.

Julien Cordiero, CEO and co-founder of SFT, added: ‘By adding our 2D microstructuring technology to Microlight3D’s portfolio means that customers who are seeking new ways to solve design challenges can greatly benefit from the quality and efficiency of sourcing from a single supplier.’

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