The emerging 3D printing technology has the potential to transform manufacturing customized optical elements, which currently heavily relies on the time-consuming and costly polishing and grinding processes. However, the inherent speed-accuracy trade-off seriously constraints the practical applications of 3D printing technology in optical realm. In addressing this issue, here, we report a new method featuring a significantly faster fabrication speed, at 24.54 mm3/h, without compromising the fabrication accuracy or surface finish required to 3D-print customized optical components. We demonstrated a high-speed 3D printing process with deep subwavelength (sub-10 nm) surface roughness by employing the projection micro-stereolithography process and the synergistic effects from the grayscale photopolymerization and the meniscus equilibrium post-curing methods. Fabricating a customized aspheric lens with 5 mm in height and 3 mm in diameter could be accomplished in less than four hours. The 3D-printed singlet aspheric lens demonstrated a maximal imaging resolution of 2.19 μm with low field distortion less than 0.13% across a 2-mm field of view. This work demonstrates the potential of 3D printing for rapid manufacturing of optical components.

This content is only available via PDF.
You do not currently have access to this content.