SBIR Phase I: Film MicroStereoLithography for Microlens Fabrication

Award Information
National Science Foundation
Award Year:
Phase I
Agency Tracking Number:
Solicitation Year:
Solicitation Topic Code:
Solicitation Number:
Small Business Information
AlpZhi, Inc.
541 10th Street NW, Suite 121, Atlanta, GA, 30318-5713
Hubzone Owned:
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged:
Woman Owned:
Principal Investigator:
Fei Ding
(678) 439-7495
Business Contact:
Fei Ding
(678) 439-7495
Research Institution:

This Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Phase I project aims to create an innovative technology to manufacture micro-lenses and other micro-optical components, which have a wide variety of applications in areas of telecommunications, precision optics, imaging and display devices, etc., Success in the optics marketplace depends on the ability to introduce newer products in shorter times. Existing micro-lens manufacturing processes have little flexibility and are very expensive for prototype testing and tooling for mass manufacturing. The objective of this project is to develop an intelligent fabrication technology with high flexibility to reduce product development time and cost for micro-lenses by up to 30%. The project will develop a strong scientific understanding of photopolymerization and will achieve high fidelity control over the fabrication process. The project will use a Film Micro-Stereolithography process (FMSL), which uses a computer controlled digital mask to cure photopolymer resin into micro-lenses, by accurately controlling the exposure. Research efforts will focus on improving the FMSL optics system, constructing high fidelity models of resin response, and formulating an improved process planning algorithm. As a result, an intelligent flexible manufacturing process to fabricate high quality reliable micro-lenses will be developed. The commercial potential of this project is two-fold: it will aid in faster introduction of innovative imaging and telecommunication devices to the market place; and will provide the intellectual foundation for improving micro-fabrication processes for the entire Micro-Opto-Electro-Mechanical systems industry. Of the many micro-fabrication technologies which cater to the micro-optics industry, none addresses the growing need to reduce prototyping cost and time associated with fabricating micro-lenses. The FMSL process has a significant potential to provide high manufacturing flexibility along with reduced production cost and time. The enhanced intellectual foundation can be extended to serve industries other than micro-lens arrays. These include fabrication of micro-fluidic channels and micro-optic components on a curved base, which can have applications in fields of drug delivery, surveillance and clean energy. FMSL is an advanced single step additive manufacturing technology that eliminates wasted raw materials, since virtually all raw materials are converted into the final product, and that is environmentally friendly, since no hazardous chemicals are needed.

* information listed above is at the time of submission.

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