Abstract

The most expensive aspects in producing high quality miniature optical systems are the component costs and long assembly process. A new approach for fabricating these systems that reduces both aspects through the implementation of self-aligning LIGA (German acronym for lithographie, galvanoformung, abformung, or x-ray lithography, electroplating, and molding) optomechanics with high volume plastic injection molded and off-the-shelf glass optics is presented. This zero alignment strategy has been incorporated into a miniature high numerical aperture (NA=1.0W) microscope objective for a fiber confocal reflectance microscope. Tight alignment tolerances of less than 10 μm are maintained for all components that reside inside of a small 9 gauge diameter hypodermic tubing. A prototype system has been tested using the slanted edge modulation transfer function technique and demonstrated to have a Strehl ratio of 0.71. This universal technology is now being developed for smaller, needle-sized imaging systems and other portable point-of-care diagnostic instruments.

© 2009 Optical Society of America

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