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Company typePrivate
Industry3D printing, Bioprinting, Technology
HeadquartersEggenstein-Leopoldshafen, Germany
Key people
Martin Hermatschweiler (CEO)

Lars Tritschler (CFO)

Revenue15.8 million (2020)
Number of employees
100+ (2024)

Nanoscribe is the first company to develop, manufacture, and market 3D printers based on two-photon polymerization.[1] Founded in 2007, the company operates in the field of nano- and microscale 3D printing[2][3] Nanoscribe's printers are noted for their high resolution, enabling submicron-scale additive manufacturing.[4][5]

This technology opens up avenues for various research methods and applications in fields such as photonics, microoptics, medical, and communication technologies, which were previously out of reach of conventional fabrication methods.[6]

According to the company, more than 4,000 users from more than 30 countries are now using Nanoscribe 3D printers for basic and applied research.[7] Among them are several universities, including Harvard University, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), California Institute of Technology, University of Oxford, Imperial College London and ETH Zurich.[8]



Foundation and expansion


The company was founded in 2007 by Martin Hermatschweiler, Michael Thiel, Georg von Freymann and Martin Wegener as the first spin-off of the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT).[6][9] The Carl ZEISS company acquired shares in the company in September 2008.[10]

In 2018, Nanoscribe opened a subsidiary in Shanghai, China,[11] and in 2019 a subsidiary in Boston, USA.[12] In January 2020, Nanoscribe moved into its headquarters at the ZEISS Innovation Hub @ KIT.[13] Since May 2021 Nanoscribe is part of Cellink, now BICO Group AB.[14] In April 2024, the company has more than 100 employees worldwide.[15]

Product development


The first 3D laser lithography system was shipped in June 2008.[16] In 2013, the company introduced the world's fastest 3D printer for nano- and microstructuring; the first commercial 3D printer for microfabrication to use a galvanometer mirror system, typically accelerating printing speed by a factor of 100.[17]

In 2019, Nanoscribe introduced the new Quantum X product as the world's first two-photon grayscale lithography system.[18] In December 2021, Nanoscribe and Cellink, a sister company within the BICO group, jointly introduced the new Quantum X bio, a 3D bioprinter with submicron resolution for printing biomaterials, bioresins, biocompatible materials and cell-encapsulated materials for live cell printing.[19][20][21]

In January 2022, the company introduced the Quantum X align, the world's first 3D printer with automatic alignment on complex substrates such as optical fibers and photonic chips with nanometer precision.[22]



The technologies developed by Nanoscribe are based on two-photon polymerization (2PP), which is physically based on two-photon absorption.[23][24]

Two-photon polymerization


Two-photon polymerization (2PP) uses a UV-curable photopolymer but exposes it to lower energy near infrared (NIR) light. At least two photons are required simultaneously to activate the chemical curing process with sufficient energy at a given point in the photopolymer volume. This requires high light intensity, which is achieved by femtosecond laser light pulses at the laser focus only. This allows structures to be printed with approximately 100 times higher precision than with 3D printing technologies based on one-photon absorption.[23][24][25]

Two-photon grayscale lithography


Nanoscribe's patented Two-Photon Grayscale Lithography (2GL®) combines the exposure dose variation of one-photon grayscale lithography with the submicron resolution and design freedom of two-photon polymerization. With 2GL, the exposure dose can be modulated during the laser scanning process, allowing the size of each voxel to be varied during the printing process. This drastically reduces the number of laser scanning passes required and thus the printing time.[26]

Application areas


There are more than 1,800 peer-reviewed scientific publications reporting research primarily based on Nanoscribe systems.[7] A Google Scholar search yields approximately >2,600 publications related to Nanoscribe systems.[27][28]

Science and research


Some specific application examples from research:

  • Filter membranes: 3D-printed membranes can filter tumor cells circulating in the blood for early cancer detection.[29]
  • Cell scaffolds: Glioblastoma cell cultures can be studied on 3D printed cell scaffolds under proton radiation.[30]
  • Cochlear implants: A cochlear implant with a 3D-printed steroid reservoir is being developed to reduce further damage to residual hearing.[31]
  • Responsive microstents: Scientists fabricate the world's smallest microstent from soft and reactive components.[32]
  • Microfluidic mixers: A miniaturized 3D mixer for producing drug-loaded nanoparticles is printed directly onto a microfluidic chip.[33]

Industrial mastering


In industrial mastering, Nanoscribe's Two-Photon Grayscale Lithography (2GL) has been utilized for prototyping and mastering micro- and nanostructured 2.5D topographies. This technology, when combined with suitable replication processes, allows for the production of these topographies in large quantities and with high precision.[26] Examples of applications include:

Microoptics: High-precision, moldable microoptics are needed in large quantities for applications such as directional lighting, microscopy (e.g., phase plates), miniaturized sensing, or in headsets for virtual or augmented reality.[34][35]

Industrial manufacturing


Exemplary applications are:

Microoptical components for Free Space Microoptical Coupling: Free-form microoptics fabricated directly on the optical interfaces of photonic chips or optical fibers provide tailored beam shaping and mode field matching for photonic integrated circuits.[36]

Fiber-based miniature optics: Free-form microoptics can be printed directly onto optical fibers with submicron accuracy for endoscopic imaging.[37]



2022: Prism Awards Finalist – the Quantum X align 3D printer is a finalist in the “Manufacturing & Test” category of the Prism Award, presented by SPIE, the international society for optics and photonics, and Photonics Media[38]

2019: LASER Innovation Award – out of 1300 competitors, the first prize goes to Nanoscribe Quantum X[39]

2018: State Award for Young Companies - Nanoscribe receives the 1st place at the Baden-Württemberg State Awards for Young Companies[6]

2018: Technology Transfer Award 2017/2018 of the German Physical Society (German: Deutsche Physikalische Gesellschaft, DPG) – Nanoscribe, KIT Innovation and Relations Management and KIT Institute of Nanotechnology are jointly awarded for the successful transfer of scientific research into a commercial product[40]

2015: German Entrepreneur Awards Finalist – Nanoscribe is a finalist in the category “Rising Star” with their high-speed 3D printers on the microscale[41][42]

2014: Prism Award for Photonics Innovation – the Photonic Professional GT 3D printer is recognized by SPIE, the international society for optics and photonics, and Photonics Media in the Advanced Manufacturing category[43]

2011: CyberChampions Award – spin-off from university/research institution[44]

2008: Otto Haxel Award of the "Freundeskreis des Forschungszentrums Karlsruhe e.V." for the founding of Nanoscribe GmbH[45]


  1. ^ Bunea, Ada-Ioana; del Castillo Iniesta, Nuria; Droumpali, Ariadni; Wetzel, Alexandre Emmanuel; Engay, Einstom; Taboryski, Rafael (December 2021). "Micro 3D Printing by Two-Photon Polymerization: Configurations and Parameters for the Nanoscribe System". Micro. 1 (2): 164–180. doi:10.3390/micro1020013. ISSN 2673-8023.
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