Replication of microlens arrays by injection molding
Injection molding could be used as a mass production technology for microlens arrays. It is of importance, and thus of our concern in the present study, to understand the injection molding processing condition effects on the replicability of microlens array profile. Extensive experiments were performed by varying processing conditions such as flow rate, packing pressure and packing time for three different polymeric materials (PS, PMMA and PC). The nickel mold insert of microlens arrays was made by electroplating a microstructure master fabricated by a modified LIGA process. Effects of processing conditions on the replicability were investigated with the help of the surface profile measurements. Experimental results showed that a packing pressure and a flow rate significantly affects a final surface profile of the injection molded product. Atomic force microscope measurement indicated that the averaged surface roughness value of injection molded microlens arrays is smaller than that of mold insert and is comparable with that of fine optical components in practical use.
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