Abstract

A novel fabrication method by combining high-speed single-point diamond milling and precision compression molding processes for fabrication of discontinuous freeform microlens arrays was proposed. Compared with slow tool servo diamond broaching, high-speed single-point diamond milling was selected for its flexibility in the fabrication of true 3D optical surfaces with discontinuous features. The advantage of single-point diamond milling is that the surface features can be constructed sequentially by spacing the axes of a virtual spindle at arbitrary positions based on the combination of rotational and translational motions of both the high-speed spindle and linear slides. By employing this method, each micro-lenslet was regarded as a microstructure cell by passing the axis of the virtual spindle through the vertex of each cell. An optimization arithmetic based on minimum-area fabrication was introduced to the machining process to further increase the machining efficiency. After the mold insert was machined, it was employed to replicate the microlens array onto chalcogenide glass. In the ensuing optical measurement, the self-built Shack–Hartmann wavefront sensor was proven to be accurate in detecting an infrared wavefront by both experiments and numerical simulation. The combined results showed that precision compression molding of chalcogenide glasses could be an economic and precision optical fabrication technology for high-volume production of infrared optics.

© 2018 Optical Society of America

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