Optics explained

Custom micro optics needed? Use our manufacturing service!

By 16 September 2020 No Comments
custom micro optics

A large number of applications, including your smartphone camera, depends on microlens arrays to boost their performance. Are you looking for a cost-effective and fast way to prototype custom micro optics? Discover our smart manufacturing of optics as a service and the possible micro optics we can manufacture.
We can produce:

  • Custom micro optics
  • Micro lens arrays
  • Micro diffusers

Custom micro optics

A micro optic is a small lens. An advantage of the small size of the lens means it can give a good optical quality, but unwanted effects can occur as a result of optical diffraction at small features.

A micro optic can be a single element with one plane surface and one spherical convex surface to refract light. The micro optic relies on a supporting substrate. Most commonly this substrate is thicker than the optic that resides on it. The thickness of the substrate should be taken into consideration when designing the optic.

Custom micro optics array

Micro optic arrays, or microlens arrays, can be used for various applications. However they are mostly used for beam homogenization. Micro optics arrays can help transform non-uniform light to a uniform irradiance distribution on the illumination plane.

A micro optics array contains multiple lenses in a one-dimensional or two-dimensional array on a supporting substrate. A hexagonal array can be used for maximum coverage of the substrate.

Custom micro optics arrays can be customized to achieve the desired focal length.

Custom micro diffuser

Micro diffusers are micro optics which are used to shape and enhance light beams in various industries. Luminaires with microprismatic diffusers are perfect to achieve soft light. We can help manufacture your micro optics with a prismatic structure, from basic shapes to complex, asymmetric structures.

Micro optics operation principles and applications

Micro optics can be used as refractive lenses, just like their larger counterparts. In order to keep the thickness very low, despite substantial dioptric power, it is possible to utilize the shape of a fresnel lens.

As mentioned earlier diffraction can play a large role with especially small micro lenses. Diffraction is usually considered as detrimental. However, there are also diffractive microlenses based on diffraction as their basic operation principle.

Micro lenses can also be utilized as gradient-index lenses (GRIN lenses). Typically this type of lens consists of two different layers, where one of the layers (the substrate) has a homogeneous refractive index, while the other layer has a radially dependent refractive index.

Micro optics can be used in a wide range of applications. It can be used as a fiber collimator or collimator for laser diodes. Or, when utilized in a micro optics array, they can be used to collimate radiation from all emitters of a diode array or waveguides. In the field of imaging optics micro lenses are used, among others, for photo copiers, photo cameras and smartphones.

Custom micro optics from Addoptics: from prototype to market introduction

If you want to stay ahead of your competitors you will need rapid prototyping. This will allow you to work on an iterative basis, make changes on the go and improve the final product with each step.

Prototyping decreases the time it takes to get the final product to market. With Addoptics’ manufacturing service you benefit from full design freedom and you are able to work in an iterative, flexible way. And there is more: no high upfront investments or minimum order quantity required.

With conventional prototyping it will take weeks before your custom optics are delivered on your doorstep. With Addoptics you can have your custom micro optics shipped to you within days.

Then there is the issue of costs. As you know by now there is no MOQ or expensive tooling required. This makes optical prototypes from Addoptics a perfect fit for companies that are willing to adapt to faster changing markets and customer needs. You could stick to customizing stock optics, but is that really what your project requires? Instead of a suboptimal approach you could have custom micro optics delivered to you within days.

Our scalable process will help you from the first prototype all the way to market introduction.

Other optics we can produce…

We can manufacture all types of optics, ranging from secondary optics to reflectors. Choosing the right optic depends on your project needs. We can help you with prototyping (and batch production) of optics in all shapes and sizes. Whether they be round, hexagonal or cone-shaped. With our unique technology you can even create freeform optics.

Discuss your project requirements

Addoptics can provide custom micro optics based on your needs. We can manufacture micro optics (bigger than 800 micron diameter) and we specialize in prismatic structures (especially asymmetrical designs). Reach out to us to discuss your requirements.

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