A negative-tone inorganic–organic hybrid SiO2:TiO2 glass is investigated for fabrication of refractive microlenses. This sol-gel material enjoys an advantage over materials used in conventional photoresist-based fabrication techniques in that it lends itself to a single-step etching-free process. The application of a high-energy beam-sensitive (HEBS) mask provides a reliable and simple method for fabrication of three-dimensional micro-optical elements with a single UV exposure. The technique of using the sol-gel material with the HEBS gray-scale mask has considerable potential for low-cost mass production of continuous-phase-level diffractive optical elements and micro-optical structures.
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