New optical materials for additive manufacturing of complex micro-optics


This project aims to develop new materials and processes for 3D printing optics using femtosecond two-photon polymerization that will significantly advance the state of the art and enable completely novel designs.

The aim of the project is on the one hand to modify the existing dielectric writing material (photoresist) in order to achieve higher refractive indices n and modified dispersion curves n(λ) and thus to be able to realize microoptical achromats. On the other hand, it will be possible to add metallic surfaces to the completely transparent printed parts, which will enable completely new micro-optics with reflective and absorptive functionalities on the present size scale (sub-mm). Within the project, it is planned to demonstrate the complete process chain from the new material to the new optics design to the finished optical prototype. To this end, the 4th Physical Institute (4PI) and the Institute of Applied Optics (ITO) at the University of Stuttgart have joined forces in an interdisciplinary alliance between physicists and engineers. While the physicists focus on material and process development for additive manufacturing, the ITO takes care of the design of the printed objects (optical lenses, micro-objectives, optical elements) and the improvement of the printing process, especially with regard to writing trajectories.

Optical systems enabled by the new materials and processes at the smallest scale include:

  • Folded imaging systems that image purely based on reflection
  • Lens systems whose chromatic aberration has been eliminated by the use of new coatings and 3D printed achromatic micro-optics
  • Prisms with partially transparent surfaces that enable beam splitting

(funded by the Baden-Württemberg Foundation).


This image shows Alois Herkommer

Alois Herkommer

Prof. Dr.

Professor and Endowed chair "Optical design and Simulation"

This image shows Andrea Toulouse

Andrea Toulouse


Group leader 3D-printed Microoptics and Simulation

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