WaferLevelOptics - The next generation of glass optics

Area of relevance: 
27 May 2010
FP7-2010-NMP-ICT-FoF "Intelligent, scalable, manufacturing platforms and equipment for components with micro- and nano-scale functional features"
Funded by: 
European Commission, EU


Micro optical components and systems often serve as an important enabler for innovative products in multiple branches. The ongoing miniaturization and the continuously growing quantities are only two issues which let to a change in optics manufacturing - from conventional grinding and polishing towards replication approaches such as the precision glass molding. Especially ultra precise glass optics feature multiple advantages so that an increased demand is expected. In polymer optics the production on wafer level is already well established and also etching technologies to produce micro glass optics are adequate and economical manufacturing approaches. Here, the economies of scale can be ideally used and innovative products such as todays mobile phone camera modules could be realized. However, when glass optics in the range of 1 – 3 mm in diameter are demanded, there is currently no manufacturing process able to meet these demands. But especially those kind of optical elements will be important components of future optical elements such as 8 mega pixel camera modules. So the need of an intelligent manufacturing approach is obvious. Derived from this lack of manufacturing processes the WaferLevelOptics project was set up. Unifying 10 partners from 6 European member states the goal of the project is to enable the precision glass molding for the replication of wafer level glass optics and therewith close the existing cap in micro glass optics manufacturing.