Fabrication of Micro-Optical Elements by Ink-Jet Printing

MicroFab is using ink-jet printing methods for data-driven fabrication of micro-optical elements such as refractive lenslet arrays, multimode waveguides and microlenses/sensors deposited onto the tips of optical fibers/fiber bundles. Materials used for MJ dispensing device printing of micro-optics have included optical adhesives, UV-curing polymers, and index-tuned thermoplastic formulations.  MicroFab's patented high temperature printheads are used to dispense optical materials at temperatures up to 220 C. By varying such process parameters, arrays of spherical and cylindrical plano-convex microlenses have been fabricated with dimensions ranging from 80um to 1mm, to precision levels of just a few microns. In addition, multimode waveguides and splitters have been created.

Diffraction pattern for 300um x 200um hemi-elliptical lens arrays printed using ink-jet technology.

Focal planes for 300x200um and 280x150um hemi-elliptical lens arrays printed using ink-jet technology.

100um wide waveguides and 32 channel splitter printed onto glass using ink-jet technology.