A scientist from the University of Stuttgart reports about the smallest endoscope in the world at IFOST

Prof. Harald Giessen (the University of Stuttgart, Germany) made a report at the 14th International Forum on Strategic Technologies (IFOST 2019) at Tomsk Polytechnic University. His plenary talk was dedicated to the development of the world smallest endoscope.

The previous week, TPU hosted the largest events in the fields of innovative technologies and advanced engineering solutions - IFOST 2019. It brought together more than 200 participants from all around the world and covered a wide range of topics, like new materials and nanotechnology, robotics and automation, energy and renewable energy sources, chemistry and biotechnology, and others.

As part of the forum, Prof. Harald Giessen presented his report 3D Printed Microoptics. The World Smallest Endoscope. Harald Giessen is a professor at the Chair for Ultrafast Nanooptics in the Department of Physics at the University of Stuttgart, and co-chair of the Stuttgart Center for Photonics Engineering (SCoPE). According to the Institute for Scientific Information, Prof. Harald Giessen was a “highly cited researcher” (among the best 1%) in 2018. His research interests include ultrafast nanooptics, plasmonics, metamaterials, 3D-printed micro- and nanooptics, new ultrafast ultra-infrared optics, and more, as well as applications in microscopy, biology, and sounding.

According to Prof. Harald Giessen, the University of Stuttgart jointly with two industrial companies is developing the world smallest endoscope. In this project, researchers are responsible for optics designing, printing, continuous improvement, and testing.

"Microoptics are applied in many areas, from miniature endoscopes in hospitals to beamforming or imaging. It provides conducting medical examinations and operations that were previously impossible. For instance, to get access to the brain through the artery to remove the stroke effects, to pass through the vessels, and so on.

Other applications areas are all kinds of sensors”, the scientist says.

He adds that, they managed to develop a prototype of the device and the first experimental results were presented at the Tomsk forum. Also, the prospects for further development of this project were discussed. The optical elements for the future endoscope are produced using 3D printing, a femtosecond laser and two-photon polymerization. This technology enables creating the lenses with a diameter of only 100 micrometers with high accuracy and reproducibility.

According to the IFOST results, Prof. Giessen assumed that the University of Stuttgart and Tomsk Polytechnic University can find a common ground for further joint scientific projects.

“Prof. Evgenia Sheremet, who we met at a conference in St. Petersburg, invited me to visit Tomsk.

I was very curious to see the city and its universities. After IFOST, we found a lot of ideas we want to discuss in detail to begin collaboration with Tomsk scientists”,

— the scientist says.