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This letter describes a soft lithographic approach for fabricating low-cost, low-loss microlens arrays. An accurate negative reproduction (stamp) of an existing high-quality lens surface (master) is made by thermally curing a prepolymer to a silicone elastomer against the master. Fabricating the stamp on a rigid backing plate minimizes distortion of its surface relief. Dispensing a liquid photocurable epoxy loaded to high weight percent with functionalized silica nanoparticles into the features of relief on the mold and then curing this material with UV radiation against a quartz substrate generates a replica lens array. The physical and optical characteristics of the resulting lenses suggest that the approach will be suitable for a range of applications in micro and integrated optics. © 2003 American Institute of Physics.
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