One of the fields in microfabrication we are involved in is MICRO-OPTICS MANUFACTURING. Micro-optics allows the manipulation of light and the management of photons with micron and sub-micron scale structures and components. Some applications of MICRO-OPTICAL COMPONENTS and SUBSYSTEMS are:
Information technology: In micro-displays, micro-projectors, optical data storage, micro-cameras, scanners, printers, copiers…etc.
Biomedicine: Minimally-invasive/point of care diagnostics, treatment monitoring, micro-imaging sensors, retinal implants, micro-endoscopes.
Lighting: Systems based on LEDs and other efficient light sources
Safety and Security Systems: Infrared night vision systems for automotive applications, optical fingerprint sensors, retinal scanners.
Optical Communication & Telecommunication: In photonic switches, passive fiber optic components, optical amplifiers, mainframe and personal computer interconnect systems
Smart structures: In optical fiber-based sensing systems and much more
The types of micro-optical components and subsystems we manufacture and supply are:
- Wafer Level Optics
- Refractive Optics
- Diffractive Optics
- Computer Generated Holograms
- Hybrid Microoptical Components
- Infrared Micro-Optics
- Polymer Micro-Optics
- Optical MEMS
- Monolithically and Discretely Integrated Micro-Optic Systems
Some of our most widely used micro-optical products are:
- Bi-convex and plano-convex lenses
- Achromat lenses
- Ball lenses
- Vortex Lenses
- Fresnel Lenses
- Multifocal Lens
- Cylindrical Lenses
- Graded Index (GRIN) Lenses
- Micro-Optical Prisms
- Arrays of Aspheres
- Micro-Lens Arrays
- Diffraction Gratings
- Wire-Grid Polarizers
- Micro-Optic Digital Filters
- Pulse Compression Gratings
- LED Modules
- Beam Shapers
- Beam Sampler
- Ring Generator
- Micro-Optical Homogenizers / Diffusers
- Multispot Beam Splitters
- Dual Wavelength Beam Combiners
- Micro-Optical Interconnects
- Intelligent Micro-Optics Systems
- Imaging Microlenses
- Micro Reflectors
- Micro-Optical Windows
- Dielectric Mask
- Iris Diaphragms
Let us provide you some basic information about these micro-optical products and their applications:
BALL LENSES: Ball lenses are completely spherical micro-optic lenses most commonly used to couple light in and out of fibers. We supply a range of micro-optic stock ball lenses and can manufacture also to your own specifications. Our stock ball lenses from quartz have excellent UV and IR transmission between 185nm to >2000nm, and our sapphire lenses have a higher refractive index, allowing a very short focal length for excellent fiber coupling. Micro-optical ball lenses from other materials and diameters are available. Besides fiber coupling applications, micro-optical ball lenses are used as objective lenses in endoscopy, laser measurement systems and bar-code scanning. On the other hand, micro-optic half ball lenses offer uniform dispersion of light and are widely used in LED displays and traffic lights.
MICRO-OPTICAL ASPHERES and ARRAYS: Aspheric surfaces have a non-spherical profile. Use of aspheres can reduce the number of optics required to reach a desired optical performance. Popular applications for micro-optical lens arrays with spherical or aspherical curvature are imaging and illumination and the effective collimation of laser light. Substitution of a single aspheric microlens array for a complex multilens system results not only in smaller size, lighter weight, compact geometry, and lower cost of an optical system, but also in significant improvement of its optical performance such as better imaging quality. However, the fabrication of aspheric microlenses and microlens arrays is challenging, because conventional technologies used for macro-sized aspheres like single-point diamond milling and thermal reflow are not capable of defining a complicated micro-optic lens profile in an area as small as several to tens of micrometers. We possess the know-how of producing such micro-optical structures using advanced techniques such as femtosecond lasers.
MICRO-OPTICAL ACHROMAT LENSES: These lenses are ideal for applications requiring color correction, while aspheric lenses are designed to correct spherical aberration. An achromatic lens or achromat is a lens that is designed to limit the effects of chromatic and spherical aberration. Micro-optical achromatic lenses make corrections to bring two wavelengths (such as red and blue colors) into focus on the same plane.
CYLINDRICAL LENSES: These lenses focus light into a line instead of a point, as a spherical lens would. The curved face or faces of a cylindrical lens are sections of a cylinder, and focus the image passing through it into a line parallel to the intersection of the surface of the lens and a plane tangent to it. The cylindrical lens compresses the image in the direction perpendicular to this line, and leaves it unaltered in the direction parallel to it (in the tangent plane). Tiny micro-optical versions are available which are suitable for use in micro optical environments, requiring compact-size fiber optical components, laser systems, and micro-optical devices.
MICRO-OPTICAL WINDOWS and FLATS: Milimetric micro-optical windows meeting tight tolerance requirements are available. We can custom manufacture them to your specifications from any of the optical grade glasses. We offer a variety of micro-optical windows made of different materials such as fused silica, BK7, sapphire, zinc sulphide….etc. with transmission from UV to middle IR range.
IMAGING MICROLENSES: Microlenses are small lenses, generally with a diameter less than a millimetre (mm) and as small as 10 micrometres. Imaging Lenses are used to view objects in imaging systems. Imaging Lenses are used in imaging systems to focus an image of an examined object onto a camera sensor. Depending on the lens, imaging lenses can be used to remove parallax or perspective error. They can also offer adjustable magnifications, field of views, and focal lengths. These lenses allow an object to be viewed in several ways to illustrate certain features or characteristics that may be desirable in certain applications.
MICROMIRRORS: Micromirror devices are based on microscopically small mirrors. The mirrors are Microelectromechanical systems (MEMS). The states of these micro-optical devices are controlled by applying a voltage between the two electrodes around the mirror arrays. Digital micromirror devices are used in video projectors and optics and micromirror devices are used for light deflection and control.
MICRO-OPTIC COLLIMATORS & COLLIMATOR ARRAYS: A variety of micro-optical collimators are available off-the-shelf. Micro-optical small beam collimators for demanding applications are produced using laser fusion technology. The fiber end is directly fused to the optical center of the lens, thereby eliminated epoxy within the optical path. The micro-optic collimator lens surface is then laser polished to within a millionth of an inch of the ideal shape. Small Beam collimators produce collimated beams with beam waists under a millimeter. Micro-optical small beam collimators are typically used at 1064, 1310 or 1550 nm wavelengths. GRIN lens based micro-optic collimators are also available as well as collimator array and collimator fiber array assemblies.
MICRO-OPTICAL FRESNEL LENSES: A Fresnel lens is a type of compact lens designed to allow the construction of lenses of large aperture and short focal length without the mass and volume of material that would be required by a lens of conventional design. A Fresnel lens can be made much thinner than a comparable conventional lens, sometimes taking the form of a flat sheet. A Fresnel lens can capture more oblique light from a light source, thus allowing the light to be visible over greater distances. The Fresnel lens reduces the amount of material required compared to a conventional lens by dividing the lens into a set of concentric annular sections. In each section, the overall thickness is decreased compared to an equivalent simple lens. This can be viewed as dividing the continuous surface of a standard lens into a set of surfaces of the same curvature, with stepwise discontinuities between them. Micro-optic Fresnel lenses focus light by refraction in a set of concentric curved surfaces. These lenses can be made very thin and lightweight. Micro-optical Fresnel lenses offer opportunities in optics for highresolution Xray applications, throughwafer optical interconnection capabilities. We have a number of fabrication methods including micromolding and micromachining to manufacture micro-optical Fresnel lenses and arrays specifically for your applications. We can design a positive Fresnel lens as a collimator, collector or with two finite conjugates. Micro-Optical Fresnel lenses are usually corrected for spherical aberrations. Micro-optic positive lenses can be metalized for use as a second surface reflector and negative lenses can be metalized for use as a first surface reflector.
MICRO-OPTICAL PRISMS: Our line of precision micro-optics includes standard coated and uncoated micro prisms. They are suitable for use with laser sources and imaging applications. Our micro-optical prisms have submilimeter dimensions. Our coated micro-optical prisms can also be used as mirror reflectors with respect to incoming light. Uncoated prisms act as mirrors for light incident on one of the short sides since incident light is totally internally reflected at the hypotenuse. Examples of our micro-optical prism capabilities include right angle prisms, beamsplitter cube assemblies, Amici prisms, K-prisms, Dove prisms, Roof prisms, Cornercubes, Pentaprisms, Rhomboid prisms, Bauernfeind prisms, Dispersing prisms, Reflecting prisms. We also offer light guiding and de-glaring optical micro-prisms made from acrylic, polycarbonate and other plastic materials by hot embossing manufacturing process for applications in lamps and luminaries, LEDs. They are highly efficient, strong light guiding precise prism surfaces, support luminaries to fulfill office regulations for de-glaring. Additional customized prism structures are possible. Microprisms and microprism arrays on wafer level are also possible using microfabrication techniques.
DIFFRACTION GRATINGS: We offer design and manufacture of diffractive micro-optical elements (DOEs). A diffraction grating is an optical component with a periodic structure, which splits and diffracts light into several beams travelling in different directions. The directions of these beams depend on the spacing of the grating and the wavelength of the light so that the grating acts as the dispersive element. This makes grating a suitable element to be used in monochromators and spectrometers. Using wafer-based lithography, we produce diffractive micro-optical elements with exceptional thermal, mechanical and optical performance characteristics. Wafer-level processing of micro-optics provides excellent manufacturing repeatability and economic output. Some of the available materials for diffractive micro-optical elements are crystal-quartz, fused-silica, glass, silicon and synthetic substrates. Diffraction gratings are useful in applications such as spectral analysis / spectroscopy, MUX/DEMUX/DWDM, precision motion control such as in optical encoders. Lithography techniques make the fabrication of precision micro-optical gratings with tightly-controlled groove spacings possible. AGS-TECH offers both custom and stock designs.
VORTEX LENSES: In laser applications there is a need to convert a Gaussian beam to a donut-shaped energy ring. This is achieved using Vortex lenses. Some applications are in lithography and high-resolution microscopy. Polymer on glass Vortex phase plates are also available.
MICRO-OPTICAL HOMOGENIZERS / DIFFUSERS: A variety of technologies are used to fabricate our micro-optical homogenizers and diffusers, including embossing, engineered diffuser films, etched diffusers, HiLAM diffusers. Laser Speckle is the optical phenomena resulting from the random interference of coherent light. This phenomenon is utilized to measure the Modulation Transfer Function (MTF) of detector arrays. Microlens diffusers are shown to be efficient micro-optic devices for speckle generation.
BEAM SHAPERS: A micro-optic beam shaper is an optic or a set of optics that transforms both the intensity distribution and the spatial shape of a laser beam to something more desirable for a given application. Frequently, a Gaussian-like or non-uniform laser beam is transformed to a flat top beam. Beam shaper micro-optics are used to shape and manipulate single mode and multi-mode laser beams. Our beam shaper micro-optics provide circular, square, rectilinear, hexagonal or line shapes, and homogenize the beam (flat top) or provide a custom intensity pattern according to the requirements of the application. Refractive, diffractive and reflective micro-optical elements for laser beam shaping and homogenizing have been manufactured. Multifunctional micro-optical elements are used for shaping arbitrary laser beam profiles into a variety of geometries like, a homogeneous spot array or line pattern, a laser light sheet or flat-top intensity profiles. Fine beam application examples are cutting and keyhole welding. Broad beam application examples are conduction welding, brazing, soldering, heat treatment, thin film ablation, laser peening.
PULSE COMPRESSION GRATINGS: Pulse compression is a useful technique that takes advantage of the relationship between pulse duration and spectral width of a pulse. This enables the amplification of laser pulses above the normal damage threshold limits imposed by the optical components in the laser system. There are linear and nonlinear techniques for reducing the durations of optical pulses. There is variety of methods for temporally compressing / shortening optical pulses, i.e., reducing the pulse duration. These methods generally start in the picosecond or femtosecond region, i.e. already in the regime of ultrashort pulses.
MULTISPOT BEAM SPLITTERS: Beam splitting by means of diffractive elements is desirable when one element is required to produce several beams or when very exact optical power separation is required. Precise positioning can also be achieved, for example, to create holes at clearly defined and accurate distances. We have Multi-Spot Elements, Beam Sampler Elements, Multi-Focus Element. Using a diffractive element, collimated incident beams are split into several beams. These optical beams have equal intensity and equal angle to one another. We have both one-dimensional and two-dimensional elements. 1D elements split beams along a straight line whereas 2D elements produce beams arranged in a matrix of, for example, 2 x 2 or 3 x 3 spots and elements with spots that are arranged hexagonally. Micro-optical versions are available.
BEAM SAMPLER ELEMENTS: These elements are gratings that are used for inline monitoring of high power lasers. The ± first diffraction order can be used for beam measurements. Their intensity is significantly lower than that of the main beam and can be custom designed. Higher diffraction orders can also be used for measurement with even lower intensity. Variations in intensity and changes in the beam profile of high power lasers can be reliably monitored inline using this method.
MULTI-FOCUS ELEMENTS: With this diffractive element several focal points can be created along the optical axis. These optical elements are used in sensors, ophthalmology, material processing. Micro-optical versions are available.
MICRO-OPTICAL INTERCONNECTS: Optical interconnects have been replacing electrical copper wires at the different levels in the interconnect hierarchy. One of the possibilities to bring the advantages of micro-optics telecommunications to the computer backplane, the printed circuit board, the inter-chip and on-chip interconnect level, is to use free-space micro-optical interconnect modules made of plastic. These modules are capable of carrying high aggregate communication bandwidth through thousands of point-to-point optical links on a footprint of a square centimeter. Contact us for off-shelf as well as custom tailored micro-optical interconnects for computer backplane, the printed circuit board, the inter-chip and on-chip interconnect levels.
INTELLIGENT MICRO-OPTICS SYSTEMS: Intelligent micro-optic light modules are used in smart phones and smart devices for LED flash applications, in optical interconnects for transporting data in supercomputers and telecommunications equipment, as miniaturized solutions for near-infrared beam shaping, detection in gaming applications and for supporting gesture control in natural user interfaces. Sensing opto-electronic modules are used for a number of product applications such as ambient light and proximity sensors in smart phones. Intelligent imaging micro-optic systems are used for primary and front-facing cameras. We offer also customized intelligent micro-optical systems with high performance and manufacturability.
LED MODULES: You can find our LED chips, dies and modules on our page Lighting & Illumination Components Manufacturing by clicking here.
WIRE-GRID POLARIZERS: These consist of a regular array of fine parallel metallic wires, placed in a plane perpendicular to the incident beam. The polarization direction is perpendicular to the wires. Patterned polarizers have applications in polarimetry, interferometry, 3D displays, and optical data storage. Wire-grid polarizers are extensively used in infrared applications. On the other hand micropatterned wire-grid polarizers have limited spatial resolution and poor performance at visible wavelengths, are susceptible to defects and cannot be easily extended to non-linear polarizations. Pixelated polarizers use an array of micro-patterned nanowire grids. The pixelated micro-optical polarizers can be aligned with cameras, plane arrays, interferometers, and microbolometers without the need for mechanical polarizer switches. Vibrant images distinguishing between multiple polarizations across the visible and IR wavelengths can be captured simultaneously in real-time enabling fast, high resolution images. Pixelated micro-optical polarizers also enable clear 2D and 3D images even in low-light conditions. We offer patterned polarizers for two, three and four-state imaging devices. Micro-optical versions are available.
GRADED INDEX (GRIN) LENSES: Gradual variation of the refractive index (n) of a material can be used to produce lenses with flat surfaces, or lenses that do not have the aberrations typically observed with traditional spherical lenses. Gradient-index (GRIN) lenses may have a refraction gradient that is spherical, axial, or radial. Very small micro-optical versions are available.
MICRO-OPTIC DIGITAL FILTERS: Digital neutral density filters are used to control the intensity profiles of illumination and projection systems. These micro-optic filters contain well-defined metal absorber micro-structures that are randomly distributed on a fused silica substrate. Properties of these micro-optical components are high accuracy, large clear aperture, high damage threshold, broadband attenuation for DUV to IR wavelengths, well defined one or two dimensional transmission profiles. Some applications are soft edge apertures, precise correction of intensity profiles in illumination or projection systems, variable attenuation filters for high-power lamps and expanded laser beams. We can customize the density and size of the structures to meet precisely the transmission profiles required by the application.
MULTI-WAVELENGTH BEAM COMBINERS: Multi-Wavelength beam combiners combine two LED collimators of different wavelengths into a single collimated beam. Multiple combiners can be cascaded to combine more than two LED collimator sources. Beam combiners are made of high-performance dichroic beam splitters that combine two wavelengths with >95% efficiency. Very small micro-optic versions are available.