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Optical Engineering • Open Access

Polymeric nanolayered gradient refractive index lenses: technology review and introduction of spherical gradient refractive index ball lenses
Author(s): Shanzuo Ji; Kezhen Yin; Matthew Mackey; Aaron Brister; Michael Ponting; Eric Baer

Paper Abstract

A nanolayered polymer films approach to designing and fabricating gradient refractive index (GRIN) lenses with designer refractive index distribution profiles and an independently prescribed lens surface geometry have been demonstrated to produce a new class of optics. This approach utilized nanolayered polymer materials, constructed with polymethylmethacrylate and a styrene-co-acrylonitrile copolymer with a tailorable refractive index intermediate to bulk materials, to fabricate discrete GRIN profile materials. A process to fabricate nanolayered polymer GRIN optics from these materials through thermoforming and finishing steps is reviewed. A collection of technology-demonstrating previously reported nanolayered GRIN case studies is presented that include: (1) the optical performance of a f/# 2.25 spherical GRIN plano-convex singlet with one quarter (2) the weight of a similar BK7 lens and a bio-inspired aspheric human eye GRIN lens. Original research on the fabrication and characterization of a Luneburg inspired GRIN ball lens is presented as a developing application of the nanolayered polymer technology.

Paper Details

Date Published: 25 July 2013
PDF: 14 pages
Opt. Eng. 52(11) 112105 doi: 10.1117/1.OE.52.11.112105
Published in: Optical Engineering Volume 52, Issue 11
Show Author Affiliations
Shanzuo Ji, Case Western Reserve Univ. (United States)
Kezhen Yin, Case Western Reserve Univ. (United States)
Matthew Mackey, Case Western Reserve Univ. (United States)
Aaron Brister, Case Western Reserve Univ. (United States)
Michael Ponting, PolymerPlus LLC (United States)
Eric Baer, Case Western Reserve Univ. (United States)

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