Micro Optics

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Micro optics are very small optical systems, typically between a few micrometers to a millimeter in size. They include optical fibers with a microscale core diameter, mini diffractive optical elements, micro optical mirrors, lenses prisms, and arrays of lenses.

Shanghai Optics produces a wide range of custom micro optics, and we can work with you to design and develop micro-optic lens assemblies to meet your exact specifications.

Applications of Micro Optics in Modern Optical Systems

Micro optics are key elements in many modern optical systems, and Shanghai Optics supplies micro optical components to many industries and applications. Aerospace and defense, materials processing, medical and bio photonics, and industrial production all require micro-sized optics made to tight specifications.

These very small optical components play an important role in remote sensing and embedded vision systems. In medical instrumentation, our micro optics are used in imaging, medical laser spectroscopy, endoscopy and robotic surgery. The rise of high quality cameras in mobile phones has led to increased demand for tiny precision lenses and windows that durable enough to withstand the wear and tear of daily handling. One-time specialty optics like our micro sapphire windows are part of the standard structure of high-end smart phones.

Types of Micro Optics

Beam Homogenization on a Micro Level: Microlens Arrays

Microlens arrays are typically used for beam homogenization and shaping, and can be paired with anything from high powered LEDS to lasers. We offer square arrays in a standard 10 mm x 10 mm configuration, and can customize for desired lens pitch and focal length. These arrays, often used in pairs, are ideal for fiber coupling, laser ablation, and welding.

Our fly’s eye condenser arrays are suitable for situations where one would need a short working distance and large illuminated field. They are often selected for medical laser use, fluorescence microscopy and semiconductor instrumentation. They transform non-uniform light to a uniform irradiance distribution on the illumination plane.

These optical components need no adjustment, and are constructed using a two-dimensional array of dual-surface cylindrical microlenses.

Micro Optics for Data Transfer: Fiber Optics

Fiber optics are long, thin strands of pure, high quality glass. When arranged in bundles (optical cables) they can be used to transmit light signals over long distances, allowing data to be processed at the speed of light.

Optical fibers consist of three parts. The core is a thin glass center which transmits light. Surrounding it is the cladding, an outer layer of glass with a higher refractive index which reflects light into the core. This cladding is approximately ten times the diameter of the core. Around both layers is a plastic buffer coating which protects the fiber.

For transmission of laser light, single mode fibers are used. These have small cores, about 8-10 microns in diameter, and transmit light directly down the fiber in transverse mode. Single mode fibers have applications in telephone, Cable TV, and internet signal.

Multi-mode fibers, with cores of 50-100 microns in diameter, are used to transmit infrared light. Multi-mode cables are useful for relaying data over relatively short distances (under 600 meters) but are not efficient for longer distances because of modal dispersion. They are specified with two numbers, their core and cladding diameters. A 62.5/125 μm multi-mode fiber would have a core diameter of 62.5 micrometers and a cladding with 125 micrometer diameter.

Special purpose optical fiber can be constructed with a non-cylindrical core or cladding.

We also carry microspheres, tiny perfectly formed spheres made out of solid grade A fine annealed optical glass. They can be used for relaying images in compact areas, as well as for coupling light into or out of fibers. Since the focal point of each microsphere is close to its surface, placing it against another sphere or microfiber will result in almost complete coupling.

Micro waveplates are used in fiber optics to change the polarization state of the light traveling through it.  We can supply micro waveplates with dimensions down to 0.35mm x 0.35mm, with a thickness of 0.19 mm. These micro waveplates are made of crystal quartz and have a surface quality of 20/10 scratch dig.

Micro Optics for Light Direction: Micro Prisms

Shanghai Optics also manufactures high quality micro prisms. These prisms can direct light from one optical channel to another, and are suitable for fiber optic applications or for use as a circulator, interleaver, or MEMs. High reflectivity minimizes signal loss, and the precise engineering of these prisms enable precise deviation.

We produce standard right-angle prisms, dove prisms, and penta prisms in micro sizes, and can also provide custom specialty prisms as needed. Our right angle micro prisms are usually used to reflect image paths or to redirect light at a ninety degree angle.  Dove prisms can invert an image, and penta prisms deviate light by 90 degrees without inversion.

Our micro PBS, polarization beamsplitter cubes, are used in fiber optics to split a laser beam into its component beams by polarization. These cubes are the core optical component in polarizers and interleavers.  We manufacture micro polarization beamsplitter cubes down to 0.2 mm dimensions.

These micro optical components are subject to the strictest quality checks, and we can guarantee that every micro prism that leaves our factory fully meets all quoted standards.

MicroLens for Complex Imaging

Our microlens have a wide range of applications, from coupling light to optical fibers, increasing light collection of CCD arrays, and focusing light on active areas of a LCD for a digital projector. They also form the heart of compact imaging devices in photocopiers or smart phone cameras, and are essential to 3D imaging and displays.

Microlens available from Shanghai Optics includes:

  • Biconcave microlens
  • Plano Concave Microlens
  • Biconvex Microlens
  • Plano Convex Microlens

These lenses are all precision polished to a very high standard. As for our other micro components, they are subject to a careful quality control and required to meet tight standards.


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