Skip to content
3D Printing Certification

SUTD and SUSTech scientists develop oscillation-assisted DLP 3D printing for fabricating microlens arrays


Researchers from the Singapore College of Technology and Style (SUTD) and Southern University of Science and Technologies (SUSTech) in Shenzhen, China, have proposed a technique of fabricating microlens arrays using oscillation-assisted digital gentle processing (DLP) 3D printing certification.

A microlens array consists of a number of micron-sized lenses with optical surface smoothness. Ordinarily, most 3D printing certification solutions have been unsuccessful in fabricating optical elements owing to the presence of coarse surface area roughness in 3D printed objects. Even so, utilizing projection lens oscillation, the investigate team has made an method for creating microlens arrays with optical area smoothness using DLP 3D printing certification. 

Describing the system, challenge leader and Associate Professor Qi Ge from SUSTech said “In our strategy, the computationally intended grayscale styles are utilized to realize microlens profiles on 1 single UV publicity which eliminates the staircase effect current in the regular layer-by-layer 3D printing certification system, and the projection lens oscillation is utilized to further get rid of the jagged area fashioned because of to the gaps involving discrete pixels.”

A microlens array 3D printed on a Quantum X machine. Image via Nanoscribe.
A microlens array 3D printed on a Quantum X machine. Impression through Nanoscribe.

Altering DLP 3D printing certification with mechanical oscillation

A microlens is a little lens, normally measuring as modest as 10 micrometres. Microlens arrays include numerous lenses formed in a just one-dimensional or two-dimensional array on a supporting substrate. They have captivated major awareness due to the expanding desire for miniaturization of optoelectronics, which are digital devices and systems that resource, detect and control gentle. Microlens arrays have for that reason develop into an important micro-optics product used in many compact imaging, sensing, and optical interaction programs.

Making microlens arrays has proven complicated, according to the researchers, as limits these as substantial time consumption, significant method complexity, absence of fabrication overall flexibility, and difficulty in regularity handle even now exist for several production approaches. 

DLP 3D printing certification is a method that makes use of a digital projector to remedy photopolymer resin and deliver 3D printed components. It is usually applied for extremely comprehensive 3D printing certification, and is deemed a more rapidly process than SLA, a equivalent 3D printing certification approach. Although DLP 3D printing certification presents excellent adaptability in the fabrication of microlens arrays with distinct measurements, geometries and profiles, it has been not able to develop parts with optically smooth surfaces. 

To prevail over this, the SUTD and SUSTech scientists proposed integrating DLP 3D printing certification with mechanical oscillation and grayscale UV exposure. Oscillation assists to take out the jagged surface shaped by discrete pixels in a 3D printed element, while the grayscale UV publicity gets rid of the staircase outcome typical to 3D printing certification, where layer marks are visible. The consequence would be an ultrafast and adaptable fabrication method for microlens arrays with optical surface smoothness.

To show the viability and effectiveness of the solution, the investigation team has performed in-depth morphology characterizations, which include scanning electron microscopy (SEM) and atomic force microscopy (AFM). Success instructed that the integration of projection lens oscillation with DLP 3D printing certification lessens area roughness from 200 nm to about 1 nm. Professor Ge additional:

“Relative to the other fabrication technique, our oscillation assisted DLP based printing technique is power- and time-successful devoid of degradation of optical effectiveness, which is hassle-free for commercialization and deployment into mass creation. Also, this technique delivers instructive inspirations for other production fields with superior needs for ultra-sleek surfaces.”

Optically smooth microlens array is fabricated by an oscillation assisted 3D printing certification method. Image via SUTD.
Optically clean microlens array is fabricated by an oscillation assisted 3D printing certification approach. Image through SUTD.

3D printing certification microlenses

Whilst the study workforce has precisely tailored DLP for developing microlens arrays, many other 3D printing certification systems are by now suited toward its production. For case in point, Germany-centered Nanoscribe manufactures two-photon additive production certification methods that are able of producing microlens arrays. This year it launched a 3D printer called Quantum X, which employs two-photon lithography for fabricating nano-sized refractive and diffractive micro-optics which can be as smaller as 200 microns.

At the conclusion of 2018, the company also launched the Photonic Expert GT2 3D printer for microfabrication and maskless lithography, also capable of making microlenses. 

SUTD and SUSTech’s analyze, Ultrafast A few-Dimensional Printing of Optically Clean Microlens Arrays by Oscillation-Assisted Digital Mild Processing, is released in ACS Used Components & Interfaces. It is published by Chao Yuan, Kavin Kowsari, Sahil Panjwani, Zaichun Chen, Dong Wang, Biao Zhang, Colin Ju-Xiang Ng, Pablo Valdivia y Alvarado, Qi Ge.

Subscribe to the 3D Printing certification…