We propose and demonstrate, for the first time to our knowledge, a microlens array of the gradient-index type using a novel liquid-crystalline material that possesses the property of photopolymerization by UV irradiation. Optical and electrical properties of the UV-curable liquid crystal are investigated to optimize UV curing conditions. The microlens array is prepared by use of an UV-curable liquid crystal, and gradient-index profiles are monitored during photopolymerization. As a result, relatively good focusing and imaging properties can be obtained even after photopolymerization. This technique affords us a very controllable way to fabricate the micro-optic components.
© 1998 Optical Society of America
Original Manuscript: August 11, 1997
Revised Manuscript: November 7, 1997
Published: April 10, 1998
Shin Masuda, Toshiaki Nose, and Susumu Sato, "Optical properties of an UV-cured liquid-crystal microlens array," Appl. Opt. 37, 2067-2073 (1998)