UpNano GmbH, a Vienna-based company spun out from TU Wien, has made a breakthrough in nano-scale 3D printing by producing test specimens large enough for material characterization according to ISO standards. The test specimens were produced using UpNano’s 2-Photon Polymerization (2PP) 3D printing technology, which is capable of producing details as fine as 200 nanometers.
Up until recently, it had been considered impossible to 3D print specimens of the right scale for ISO tests using a 2PP 3D printer and photopolymer while maintaining a resolution in the sub-micrometer range. (Typically, printed parts are too small for material specification testing methods.) UpNano has now demonstrated its capability to do so, using its NanoOne 3D printer and a special photopolymer to print parts that meet the requirements for ISO tests.
“Our proprietary adaptive resolution technology adapts the laser spot size in accordance with the required geometry and resolution,” said Peter Gruber, Head of Technology and Co-Founder of UpNano. “It enables users of the NanoOne-printer to manufacture specimens with a nanometer resolution–or in sizes up to centimeters. We now used the latter capability of the system to produce bending test specimens measuring 2 cm length in size and tensile test specimens with length of 3.5 cm.”
The breakthrough was achieved using the company’s universal performance material, UpPhoto. Using its NanoOne 3D printer, the UpNano team successfully 3D printed 30 bending test specimens in under 10 hours, and 12 tensile test specimens with more complex structures in under nine hours. These test specimens, as well as the rate at which they are produced, are ideal for material specification testing in accordance with ISO standards.
“The lack of standardized material specifications is a serious obstacle for using high-performance 3D printing in an industrial setting,” explained Bernhard Küenburg, CEO of UpNano. “Decentralized production processes of global industries and warranty legislations are based on standards and norms. If your material or device does not fit in this finely honed system, it might be good for prototypes, but not for series production.”
According to the company, its NanoOne system the fastest 2PP 3D printing system on the market, and the machine is suitable for both technical industry and research applications. In fact, a complete NanoOne system was recently sent to the MedUni Vienna in Austria, where it will be utilized in combination with the UpBio photopolymer, a material ideal for biomedical research because of its compatibility with living cells.