Nanoscribe launches Quantum X align

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Nanoscribe, is debuting the Quantum X align, a new high-performance 3D printer at the Photonics West Conference and Exhibition. The Quantum X align is the first 3D printer with 3D alignment capabilities that enables the printing of freeform microoptical elements directly onto optical fibres and photonic chips, as the company aims to set new standards in the design and fabrication of microoptical elements.

The Quantum X align provides robust and reliable alignment solutions to enable the creation of efficient light couplers via Free Space Microoptical Coupling (FSMOC) between chips and optical fibres. The novel device opens up new horizons for imaging technologies using fibre and beam shaping applications, especially for hybrid packaging of photonic chips. 

The microfabrication system extends the capabilities of the Quantum X platform, allowing for a more straightforward process chain, relaxed assembly tolerances, and a reduction in the costly and time-consuming active alignment and a further reduction of devices dimensions.

Martin Hermatschweiler, CEO and co-founder of Nanoscribe said: ‘With the addition of the new Quantum X align to our industry-proven Quantum X platform, we are enriching Two-Photon Polymerisation with powerful alignment technologies that drive the ever-increasing demand in data communications, telecommunications and sensing applications. Our goal is to address the challenges of efficient coupling in photonic packaging and make high-precision 3D printing the technology of choice in integrated photonics.’

Advanced photonic packaging solutions for enabling tomorrow’s technologies

The new high-precision 3D printer unlocks unprecedented possibilities for photonic packaging, which is promising for developing more energy-efficient technologies with high data processing capacities. Photonic integrated circuits (PIC) will help to surpass the limited computing power of today’s microelectronics at a tremendously lower power consumption, driving applications in artificial intelligence or quantum computing. However, manufacturing of such devices requires new technologies for realising microoptical interconnects. The new Quantum X align addresses these current challenges with innovative hardware and software solutions. Based on Two-Photon Polymerization (2PP) as the leading high-precision 3D printing technology, the Quantum X align achieves alignment accuracies in all spatial dimensions of down to 100 nanometers.

Finalist for the Prism Awards 2022

The Quantum X align is a finalist for the Prism Awards 2022 in the category Manufacturing and Test, proving the innovative approach of this revolutionary printer. The goal of this international competition is to honour the best new products in the optics and photonics market. The awards ceremony will take place on January 26 in San Francisco as part of the SPIE Photonics West Conference and Exhibition.

The Quantum X align is the first 3D printer with advanced 3D alignment capabilities within Nanoscribe’s disruptive Quantum X microfabrication platform. It is equipped with high-precision imaging modules to 3D map substrate topographies and to automatically align the structures to be printed in all spatial directions. This sets new standards in the design and fabrication of microoptical elements, which are automatically aligned to fibre tips, photonic chip edge couplers (EC), grating couplers (GC) and laser diode facets during the 3D printing process.

Photonic packaging is streamlined and empowered with:

  • Mode field adaptation at the component level instead of the chip level  
  • An easy transfer of fibre arrays to Lensed Fibre Arrays (LFA) by printing the collimating or focusing optics on the tip of each fibre
  • Nano-precision alignment for on-fibre and on-chip printing

Quantum X align allows for automatic 3D fibre core detection and automatic tilt compensation to precisely print on fibres or fibre arrays. The Quantum X align printer’s central feature for printing on photonic chips is a confocal imaging module for 3D mapping of substrate topographies combined with a fully automated alignment to predefined markers or waveguides. Thus, Quantum X align makes it easy to 3D print freeform microoptics perfectly aligned onto the fibre core or attached to facets or waveguides on standard or customised optical chips. All in all, auto-aligned 3D printing significantly reduces complex chip-level mode field tuning, eliminates active alignment and enables novel and unprecedented use of freeform microoptics at optical interfaces.

Preliminary testing of the quantum gravity gradiometer designed by Michael Holynski and colleagues at the University of Birmingham, which has now been shown to locate an underground tunnel with a positional accuracy of 20cm. Credit: Crown Copyright

13 June 2022

Microscope image of a 3D-printed lensed fibre array. Here, green light is collimated into parallel light beams. (Image: Nanoscribe)

27 January 2022

Jonas Zeuner of VitreaLab, centre, is joined onstage by Jenoptik's Song Yop Chung, left, and Ralf Kuschnereit, right. Credit: SPIE

26 January 2022