SCHOTT Manufactures Arrays of High Refractive Lenses with Precision Molding Process

The market for high-brightness Light Emitting Diodes (LED) is growing strongly. To meet the rising demand, suppliers are developing new ways of manufacturing components in larger volumes. SCHOTT has now patented a precision molding process for producing strips and arrays of high refractive miniature lenses out of glass.

Glass types like P-LaSF47 enable compact light source dimensions with high light throughputs for wavelengths ranging from 350 to 2,000 nm. From medical technology to high-power spotlights, such as those used for stage illumination and architectural lighting, automotive lighting or UV applications - glass allows for compact solutions in lighting and optics. It offers high light throughput, yet is insensitive to heat, moisture and UV-radiation.

Small lenses and optical components in particular are increasingly in demand when it comes to producing light sources and optics that have more compact designs. This is why SCHOTT decided to further improve its precision molding process and is now capable of producing arrays and strips of precisely formed high refractive miniature lenses in greater volumes. “These lenses can have a very high and steep curvature and be placed very closely together,” says Dr. Ralf Biertümpfel, Application Manager at SCHOTT in Mainz. “This makes them particularly attractive for light sources with several LEDs, for instance. Strips and arrays of lenses are much easier to process and mount than individual lenses,” he adds. For example, 19 aspherically formed lenses 5 mm in diameter and 2.5 mm in height can be combined on an array that is only 25 mm in diameter. The process also allows for other supply forms such as diffractive optical elements and Fresnel lenses, as well as free combinations of several designs.

“In addition, this process can be used to produce hybrid optical components,” Ralf Biertümpfel explains. “We are able to form and melt together two or more optical materials at the same time using only one process step. This opens up entirely new options for further exploring the cost-efficient miniaturization of optical systems,” he adds.

SCHOTT designed the Low Tg glasses P-LaSF47 (nd = 1.8016), N-LaF33 (nd = 1.7821), P-SK57 (nd = 1.5843) and N-FK5 (nd = 1.4850) especially for use in precision molding. They have a low transformation temperature (Tg) of below 550° Celsius and are ideally suited for use in producing high refractive optical components. Just recently SCHOTT extended its portfolio on low Tg glasses. The following glass types – preferably in form of rods – are now available: P-SF68 (nd = 2.0052), P-LASF51 (nd = 1.8100), P-LASF50 (nd = 1.8086), P-LAK35 (nd = 1.694), P-SK60 (nd = 1.6104) und P-SK58A (nd = 1.5891).

SCHOTT is an international technology group that sees its core purpose as the lasting improvement of living and working conditions. To this end, the company has been developing special materials, components, and systems for more than 125 years. The main areas of focus are the household appliances industry, pharmaceuticals, solar energy, electronics, optics, and the automotive industry. The SCHOTT Group is present in close proximity to its customers with production and sales companies in all its major markets. The Group’s approximately 17,400 employees generated worldwide sales of approximately 2.3 billion Euros in the fiscal year 2008/2009. The company's technological and economic expertise is closely linked with its social and ecological responsibility. The SCHOTT AG is an affiliate of the Carl-Zeiss-Stiftung (Foundation).

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