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Optics Express

Optics Express

  • Editor: C. Martijn de Sterke
  • Vol. 17, Iss. 15 — Jul. 20, 2009
  • pp: 13122–13127

Rapid fabrication of a micro-ball lens array by extrusion for optical fiber applications

S. C. Shen and J. C. Huang  »View Author Affiliations

Optics Express, Vol. 17, Issue 15, pp. 13122-13127 (2009)

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Batch-fabrication of a micro-ball lens array (MBA) could not only reduce micro assembly costs but also replace conventional ball lenses or costly GRINs (Gradient Refractive Index) without compromising performance. Compared with conventional half-spherical micro-lenses, the MBA is a spherical micro-lens that can focus light in all directions, thus providing the flexibility required for optical applications. Current MBAs are made of SU-8 photoresist by an extrusion process rather than the traditional thermal reflow process. The aim of this study was to develop a new process for MBA batch-fabrication, performed at ambient temperature, by spin-coating SU-8 onto a silicon-wafer surface, which serves as an extrusion plate, and extruding it through a nozzle to form an MBA. The nozzle consists of a nozzle orifice and nozzle cavity, the former being defined and made from SU-8 photoresist using ultra-violet (UV) lithography, which results in good mechanical properties. In this paper, the fabrication of 4×4 MBAs with diameters ranging from 60 to 550 um is described. Optical measurements indicated a diameter variance within 3% and a maximum coupling efficiency of approximately 62% when the single mode fiber (SMF) was placed at a distance of 10um from the MBA. The results of this study proved that MBA fabrication by the extrusion process can enhance the coupling efficiency.

© 2009 Optical Society of America

ToC Category:
Optical Design and Fabrication

Original Manuscript: May 22, 2009
Revised Manuscript: July 8, 2009
Manuscript Accepted: July 8, 2009
Published: July 16, 2009

S. C. Shen and J. C. Huang, "Rapid fabrication of a micro-ball lens array by extrusion for optical fiber applications," Opt. Express 17, 13122-13127 (2009)

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