NeMFagO – Novel Materials for the functionalization of printed optics
The development of state of the art materials for current 3D-printing technologies usually neglects their optical properties. Consequently, 3D-printing of optical components is still in its infancy. The tremendous potential of additive manufacturing for custom-shaped (freeform) refractive surfaces is not leveraged at all. Furthermore, novel functionalities that go way beyond the mere shape of the manufactured refractive surface are not considered at all.
The primary goal of NeMFagO is to optimize 3D-printed optical components by fundamental investigations regarding the optical properties of the employed printing resins. Therefore, sophisticated materials and processes will be developed that enable variations of typical properties of the printed component in all three spatial directions. To demonstrate this mission, the development will address two main application scenarios. UV curable resins, which incorporate semiconductor quantum nanodots will be developed for biomedical applications. These resins rely on inorganic/organic hybrid polymers. Similar resins will be employed for so-called gradient index optical components, that require precise control of the refractive index and the related printing technologies.
The role of Fraunhofer ISC in the project is to develop the relevant hybrid polymer resins that can be formulated with quantum dots of different color for 3D-printing of photoluminescent optics. Additionally, similar material systems with a broad spectrum of refractive indices need to be developed.