Additive manufacturing of passive and active optical components – Presented by Andreas Heinrich, Aalen University

Additive manufacturing of passive and active optical components – Presented by Andreas Heinrich, Aalen University, Center for Optical Technologies, at the 4D Printing  & Meta Materials Conference, on April 17, during the 3D Printing Event at Brightlands Chemelot Campus in The Netherlands.

Additive manufacturing enables the realization of complex shaped parts. This also provides a high potential for optical components. Thus elements with virtually any geometry can be realized, which is often difficult with conventional fabrication methods.

Depending on the material and thus the manufacturing method used, either transparent optics or reflective optics can be developed with the aid of additive manufacturing. Ultimately, the application or the specification decides on the approach. For example, transmissive 3D printed parts exhibit the disadvantage of a significant reduced transmission. Conversely, reflective 3d printed optics often requires a greater amount of rework in order to achieve a sufficient optical quality of the surface.

Here, we discuss 3D printed metal optics (manufactured using a selective laser melting machine) and 3D printed polymer optics (realized either by stereolithography or by multijet modling). In addition to the basic properties, the post-processing of the 3D printed optics is regarded. This includes, for example, cleaning and polishing of the surface using lasers, a robot based fluidjet process for metallic and polymer optics. In the case of the polymer optics a dip-coating process was developed in order to improve the surface quality, which is presented as well.

Our aim is to integrate the additive manufactured optics into optical systems. Therefore we present different examples in order to point out new possibilities and new solutions enabled by 3D printing of the parts. In this context, the development of 3D printed reflective and transmissive adaptive optics will be discussed as well.

About Andreas Heinrich
1999 – 2001 PhD in Physics, Technical University Munich, Germany
2001 – 2007 postdoctoral lecture qualification University Augsburg & National High Magnetic Field Laboratory, Tallahassee, USA
2007 – 2010 Carl Zeiss Laseroptics, Project Manager Development Group
2010 – 2013 Carl Zeiss AG, Department Head Metrology, Corporate Research
since 2013 Full Professor Aalen University and Head Center for Optical Technologies

About Aalen University; Center for Optical Technologies
Optic research center of Aalen University

About 3D Printing Event
On April 16 and April 17, 2019, Brightlands Chemelot Campus in Sittard-Geleen, The Netherlands, will host a two-day 3D Printing Event focused on the entire 3D Printing manufacturing value chain from design to end product.The event will include five dedicated conferences and an exhibition.

  • April 16 – 3D Printing Materials Conference – topics: polymers (new materials), metals and multi materials used in 3D Printing
  • April 16 – 3D Design & Engineering Conference – topics: 3D design & 3D engineering tools / Visualisation tools, Reverse engineering, Value Engineering / Virtual Engineering, Topology Optimization, Blockchain & more
  • April 17 – 3D Printing Post-Processing Conference – topics: All actions that are performed after parts are removed from a 3D printer – issues, solutions & future trends.
  • April 17 – AM Integrated Factory Conference – topics: Hybrid manufacturing, Implementation of AM systems as part of an end-to-end production workflow, Implementation of AM systems in the ‘traditional’ production processes
  • April 17 – 4D Printing & Meta Materials Conference – topics: 4D Printing from idea to full functionality, Smart materials, Applications & opportunities for designing and engineering
  • April 16-17 – Exhibition – Companies active in 3D Printing related fields will be present to showcase the latest developments.

For more information about the event and registration, we invite you to visit

This event is organised by Jakajima. For a complete list of upcoming conferences and events, we invite you to visit


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