A method for fabricating microlenses in polycarbonate material is reported. Using a direct-write technique based on scanning excimer laser ablation with a circular beam, we can etch an arbitrary shape in the polymer material. The beam is obtained by imaging a circular aperture onto the polymer surface, and scanning is realized by the translation stage carrying the sample, which makes successive contours with well-chosen diameters and scan velocities. Afterward, to smooth the ablated surface and release it from debris, a large beam aperture covering the full lens area is used to ablate the lens deeper into the substrate. The fabrication process and the characterization method are described, including calculation of the contour set for a desired lens shape. The optical performance is evaluated by Mach–Zehnder interferometry, showing that aberrations below λ/10 are possible for slow lenses.
© 2003 Optical Society of America
Original Manuscript: January 15, 2003
Revised Manuscript: June 4, 2003
Published: November 1, 2003
Kris Naessens, Heidi Ottevaere, Roel Baets, Peter Van Daele, and Hugo Thienpont, "Direct writing of microlenses in polycarbonate with excimer laser ablation," Appl. Opt. 42, 6349-6359 (2003)