Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Mechanical Engineering

Document Type



Free space micro-optical systems require to integrate microlens array, micromirrors, optical waveguides, beam splitter, etc. on a single substrate. Out-of-plane microlens array fabricated by direct lithography provides pre-alignment during mask fabrication stage and has the advantage of mass manufacturing at low cost. However, this technology requires precise control of the surface profile of microlenses, which is a major technical challenge. The quality control of the surface profile of microlenses limits their applications. In this dissertation, the surface forming process of the out-of-plane microlenses in UV-lithography fabrication was modeled and simulated using a simplified cellular automata model. The microlens array was integrated with micromirrors on a single silicon substrate to form a free space interconnect system. The main contributions of this dissertation include: (1) The influences of different processing parameters on the final surface profiles of microlenses were thoroughly analyzed and discussed. A photoresist etching model based on a simplified cellular automata algorithm was established and tested. The forming process and mechanism of the microlens surface profile were explained based on the established model. (2) Microlens arrays with different parameters were designed, fabricated, and tested. The experiment results were compared with the simulation results. The possible causes for the deviation were discussed. (3) A microlens array based beam relay for optical interconnection application was proposed. A sequence of identical microlens array was fabricated on a single silicon substrate simultaneously and its optical performance was tested. A fast replication method for the microlens optical interconnects using PDMS and UV curable polymer was developed. A selective deposition method of micro-optical elements using PDMS ‘lift-off’ technique was realized. No shadow mask was needed during deposition process. With the continuous advances in the integration of micro-optical systems, direct lithography of micro-optical elements will be a potential technology to provide both precision alignment and low cost in manufacturing process. Microlenses and microlens array with precisely controlled surface profiles will be an important part in the micro-optical system.



Document Availability at the Time of Submission

Release the entire work immediately for access worldwide.

Committee Chair

Wang, Wanjun