The University of Eastern Finland's brand new Institute of Photonics has just partnered with the Dutch rapid prototyping company LUXeXceL. Together, they plan to design a new photonic 3D printer.
LUXeXceL currently produces optical equipment (like lenses) using a Printoptical system. The system builds the lenses using a UV-curable polymer and a UV lamp inside the print head cures the polymer as it's being printed.
The Institute of Photonics and LUXeXcel plan to work together over the next 18 months in order to refine the current Printoptical design into something that can build the lenses faster and cheaper.
This is just the first step for the newly-minted photonics institute. Although LUXeXcel is the first industrial partnership they've formed, it won't be the last. According to IoP's Professor Vahimaa, they want to work with partners domestically and internationally to research new developments in photonic printing. "The fact that we are an international player with a high standard of research is the best asset we can offer companies, as our research can be the source of a new business."
They also hope that the Institute of Photonics will eventually draw in graduate and doctoral students from around the world to study at the University of Eastern Finland.