Abstract

Microinjection molding is a mass production method to fabricate affordable optical components. However, the intense nature of this process often results in part deformation and uneven refractive index distribution. These two factors limit the precision of replicated optics. In order to understand the influences of injection molding on freeform optical devices, in this study, finite element method (FEM) was employed to investigate the miniature microinjection-molded Alvarez lenses. In addition, an innovative metrology setup was proposed to evaluate the optical wavefront patterns in the molded lenses using an interferometer-based wavefront measurement system. This measurement setup utilized an optical matching liquid to reduce or eliminate the lenses’ surface power such that the wavefront pattern with large deviation from the freeform lenses can be measured by a regular wavefront setup. The FEM simulation results were also used to explain the differences between the nominal and experimentally measured wavefront patterns of the microinjection-molded Alvarez lenses. In summary, the proposed method combining simulation and wavefront measurements is shown to be an effective approach for studying injection molding of freeform optics.

© 2014 Optical Society of America

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