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3D printed micro- and nano-optics for future integrated vision and endoscopy systems

3D printed micro- and nano-optics for future integrated vision and endoscopy systems

Objective

Optics is abundant in today’s world. Smartphone cameras, optical sensors for autonomous driving, virtual and augmented reality, medical imaging technology, and many more areas all require tailored optical sensors. In most cases, the optical sensors are still based on classical optical systems. For instance, high-end cameras or high-quality endoscopes still utilize classical glass optics. The related markets have sizes of several tens of billion USD and grow with double digit rates.

For all applications, size is the limiting factor. There is a tremendous demand for imaging capabilities using optics at sizes below 1 mm, with the quality of classical optics, i.e., correction of aberrations, extremely high transmission, and broadband operation. Key features include also zooming, focusing, and f-number variation, as well as customized fields of view to realize foveated imaging and multi-aperture, multi-lens systems. Ideally, such optical systems provide 180° field of view with simultaneous zooming capabilities.

Here, we propose a novel type of micro-optics that is extremely flexible, can be created at demand, possesses unprecedented functionality, and delivers solutions to problems that could not be solved before.

The basic building block at the heart of our problem solution is the use of 3D printed microoptics by femtosecond direct laser writing. This method has all features to fulfil the above-mentioned requirements: It takes only a day from the idea to concept, optical design and simulation, and to manufacturing and testing, i.e., to generate a working prototype.

Our method will create a new class of optical elements, which enable the smallest microscope objective in the world on the tip of an optical fiber with unprecedented imaging accuracy and functionality, such as focusing and zooming capability.
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Host institution

UNIVERSITAET STUTTGART

Address

Keplerstrasse 7
70174 Stuttgart

Germany

Activity type

Higher or Secondary Education Establishments

EU Contribution

€ 150 000

Beneficiaries (1)

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UNIVERSITAET STUTTGART

Germany

EU Contribution

€ 150 000

Project information

Grant agreement ID: 862549

Status

Ongoing project

  • Start date

    1 June 2019

  • End date

    30 November 2020

Funded under:

H2020-EU.1.1.

Hosted by:

UNIVERSITAET STUTTGART

Germany