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We demonstrate a cost-effective and high-volume fabrication method for building microlenses in hybrid sol-gel material. The fabrication process includes three main steps. First, the microlenses were built in photoresist by a reflowing technique. Second, surface profiles of the microlenses were transferred to an elastic polydimethylsiloxane (PDMS) replica. Finally, the microlenses were fabricated by impressing the replica onto a thick sol-gel film with simultaneous ultraviolet curing. As an example, a microlens with a diameter of 80 /spl mu/m and a sag height of 13 /spl mu/m was fabricated for a coupling experiment between two single-mode fibers. A measured coupling efficiency of 2.2 dB (60%) was obtained, which could be further improved to approach the theoretical efficiency of 0.3 dB (93%) with an ultraprecision alignment stage.
Date of Publication: Oct. 2003