Press Release: New microlens arrays with more lenses per wafer

Aachen, February 22, 2018. Micro-optics for beam shaping, collimation, and homogenization

New microlens arrays with more lenses per wafer. Highest precision molding of high refractive index glass.

INGENERIC premiers the new microlens arrays with shorter focal lengths and a higher number of lenses per wafer as they exhibit at this year’s trade fairs “LASER World of PHOTONICS CHINA 2018” and “OFC 2018”. The company develops customized arrays and brings them to commercial serial production. At the trade fair, the company based in Aachen, Germany presents its new microlens arrays with up to 500 individual lenses and dimensions of up to 50 x 50 mm, which are used, for example, for beam shaping and light homogenization. With the new arrays, INGENERIC addresses the requests of numerous customers to implement focal lengths of down to 0.3 mm. Dr. Stefan Hambücker, a Managing Director at INGENERIC, sees clear advantages for customers: “We are seeing a pronounced trend towards shorter focal lengths. The consequence is that we have to produce optics with significantly smaller radii than before. We have made substantial progress here in recent months. These two fairs are the opportunity to present our latest developments: More lenses per wafer with shorter focal lengths on larger arrays.” For optics with a short focal length, INGENERIC has increased the usable surface area to 10 x 10 mm and thus significantly expanded the existing product range. The company continues to use its proven technology, which guarantees maximum reproducibility and tightest tolerances. These advantages make INGENERIC a leading manufacturer of microlens arrays. 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. INGENERIC manufactures microlens arrays with aspherical or spherical lenses that are planoconvex, biconvex or convex-concave, and which have a circular, rectangular or hexagonal aperture. INGENERIC at the “OFC”: San Diego, California, USA March 13 – 15, 2018: Stand no. 4601 (German Pavilion) INGENERIC at the “LASER World of PHOTONICS CHINA”: Shanghai, China March 14 – 16, 2018: Hall W1, Booth 1715

Background: Precision in detail

The array structures typically have dimensions in the sub-millimeter range, and the dimensional accuracy is sub-micrometer 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. High-precision molding maintains an offset between the upper and lower sides of the array of less than 5 μm. Pitch accuracy is also very high: 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 quartz etching, INGENERIC achieves a relative radius tolerance better than 0.2 percent, which in serial production is precisely reproducible from wafer to wafer.