June 21, 2021 Blog

We Created A Glass Lung | Fused Silica | 5 Axis CNC Milling | Polishing | SLE

subtractive 3D structure manufacturing using selective laser-induced etching

Together with LightFab GmbH and in co-operation with RWTH Aachen University, we created a human lung that enables the development of new aerosol therapeutic techniques. A unique combination of fabrication techniques was used to remove quartz inside the model, including 5 axis CNC milling, polishing, and SLE (Selective Laser-induced Etching). SLE is a two-step process that allows to modify the structure inside a glass via a pulsed laser beam and selectively remove glass via wet chemical etching. Compared to milling, SLE enables small 3D features with high aspect ratios and accuracy within microns.

Because the lung was bonded out of 2 transparent fused silica plates, it enables the application of different optical measurement techniques to analyze aerosol propagation and deposition on a microscopic level. In addition, it offers the possibility to simulate specific human breathing characteristics.

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