Press Release: New INGENERIC microlens arrays offer significant advantages in optical applications
Aachen, June 6th, 2017. Premiere at the Laser – World of Photonics: Micro-optics for beam shaping, collimation, and homogenization
New INGENERIC microlens arrays offer significant advantages in optical applications. Highest precision molding of high refractive index glass.
INGENERIC premiers their new microlens arrays with high refractive index glass at this year’s “Laser – World of Photonics”. Manufactured in a precision glass molding process, they are characterized by high dimensional accuracy. INGENERIC develops customized arrays and brings them to commercial serial production.
At the trade fair, the company based in Aachen, Germany is presenting its new microlens arrays with up to 500 individual lenses and dimensions of up to 60 x 60 mm, for example for beam shaping and light homogenization.
INGENERIC works with precision molding techniques, which ensure that high refractive index glass takes on precisely the form of the molding tool. The molds manufactured by the company to sub-micron precision enable the arrays to be produced with exceptionally high accuracy and reproducibility. INGENERIC successfully manufactures arrays with minimal transition zones, highest filling factors and minimal pitch errors, even in large batches.
When it comes to designing micro-optics for special applications, the process offers significant degrees of freedom: Compared to the etching process, optics can be far more complex with a larger radius-to-aperture aspect ratio. Furthermore, the process excels with a relative radius tolerance better than 0.2 %, which is fully reproducible in serial production.
Dr. Stefan Hambücker, a Managing Director at INGENERIC, sees clear advantages for his customers: “As one of the very few European manufacturers involved in the development and manufacture of the new microlens arrays with high-refraction glass, we are not only opening up new markets to our customers. We also help them to improve their existing systems. They can improve the quality of their products while at the same time they meet the cost requirements of serial production.”
INGENERIC manufactures microlens arrays with aspherical or spherical lenses that are planoconvex, biconvex or convex-concave, and which have a circular or rectangular aperture measuring from 0.2 to 3.0 mm. They can have dimensions of up to 60 × 60 mm.
Beam-shaping lens beamPROP
Along with its standard portfolio, INGENERIC is also exhibiting its new beam-shaping optic beamPROP 200 at the fair. It is a key component for fiber coupling the laser light from diode bars and for dense wavelength beam combining. INGENERIC has now reduced the pitch from 500 and 400 to 200 μm, which expands its geometry spectrum for use with additional laser bars.
The beamPROP from INGENERIC enables customers to achieve significantly better and more reproducible results than with components manufactured in other ways. INGENERIC can leverage the expertise from its tried-and-tested production technologies for the manufacture of the new beamPROP; a precise and automated assembly technology is applied here.
The advantages of INGENERIC beam-shaping optics over other manufacturing processes include:
INGENERIC at the “Laser – World of Photonics” in Munich: June 26 – 29, 2017, Hall B1, Booth 430
- Optimal use of the aperture due to the smallest possible transition zones and particularly high filling factors
- Minimal aberration due to manufacturing accuracy
- Precise beam rotation thanks to the high accuracy of the lens center thickness of +/- 6μm
- Minimal pointing errors due to the precise alignment of the front and back of the lenses
Background: Precision in detail
The array structures typically have dimensions in the sub-millimeter range, and the dimensional accuracy is sub-micron at less than 250 nm. This makes it possible to produce arrays with high filling factors and to make the best possible use of the optically effective surface area: INGENERIC reliably implements transition zones of less than 10 μm. The benefit to the user: Optimal beam shaping and high-efficiency transmission and coupling.
High-precision molding keeps the offset between the upper and lower sides of the array under 5 μm. In addition, there is very high pitch accuracy: INGENERIC reproduces the separation between the individual lens center points with an accuracy of better than 2 μm over a length of 25 mm, so there is no accumulation of errors across the width of the array.
For some micro-optics – particularly the two-sided structures – the exact adherence to the central thickness is vitally important, since they have a telescopic effect and the slightest deviations lead to aberrations. INGENERIC achieves accuracies close to +/-6 μm here.
Compared to conventional methods like fused silica etching, INGENERIC achieves a relative radius tolerance better than 0.2 percent, which in serial production is precisely reproducible from wafer to wafer.
Dr.-Ing. Uwe Stein