Microlenses: Properties, Fabrication and Liquid Lenses, 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover


Properties, Fabrication and Liquid Lenses, 1st Edition

By Hongrui Jiang, Xuefeng Zeng

CRC Press

228 pages | 176 B/W Illus.

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Due to the development of microscale fabrication methods, microlenses are being used more and more in many unique applications, such as artificial implementations of compound eyes, optical communications, and labs-on-chips. Liquid microlenses, in particular, represent an important and growing research area yet there are no books devoted to this topic that summarize the research to date. Rectifying this deficiency, Microlenses: Properties, Fabrication and Liquid Lenses examines the recent progress in the emerging field of liquid-based microlenses.

After describing how certain problems in optics can be solved by liquid microlenses, the book introduces the physics and fabrication methods involved in microlenses. It also details the facility and equipment requirements for general fabrication methods. The authors then present examples of various microlenses with non-tunable and tunable focal lengths based on different mechanisms, including:

  • Non-tunable microlenses: Ge/SiO2 core/shell nanolenses, glass lenses made by isotropic etching, self-assembled lenses and lens arrays, lenses fabricated by direct photo-induced polymerization, lenses formed by thermally reflowing photoresist, lenses formed from inkjet printing, arrays fabricated through molding processes, and injection-molded plastic lenses
  • Electrically tuned microlenses: liquid crystal-based lenses and liquid lenses driven by electrostatic forces, dielectrophoretic forces, electrowetting, and electrochemical reactions
  • Mechanically tunable microlenses: thin-membrane lenses with varying apertures, pressures, and surface shapes; swellable hydrogel lenses; liquid–liquid interface lenses actuated by environmentally stimuli-responsive hydrogels; and oscillating lens arrays driven by sound waves
  • Horizontal microlenses: two-dimensional polymer lenses, tunable and movable liquid droplets as lenses, hydrodynamically tuned cylindrical lenses, liquid core and liquid cladding lenses, air–liquid interface lenses, and tunable liquid gradient refractive index lenses

The book concludes by summarizing the importance of microlenses, shedding light on future microlens work, and exploring related challenges, such as the packaging of systems, effects of gravity, evaporation of liquids, aberrations, and integration with other optical components.


"It provides an excellent overview of liquid lens materials and driving techniques, resulting in micro-optics with tunable focal lengths and the possibility of integration with microfluidic devices. … I recommend it particularly for those already involved in micro-optics who would like to expand their research into tunable optics."

—Dejan Pantelic, Optics & Photonics News, 2014

Table of Contents

Introduction to Liquid Microlenses

History of Microlenses

Categories of Microlenses

Physics of Microlenses

Microlens Arrays

Ubiquitous Problems in Optics

Applications of Liquid Microlenses

Basic Physics of Liquid Microlenses


Optical Lenses

Surface Tension

Fabrication Methods

Introduction to Microfabrication Methods

Facilities and Equipment

Substrate Materials


Basic Fabrication Steps

Other Microfabrication Techniques

Examples of Microfabrication Processes

Solid Microlenses


Germanium and Silicon Oxide Nanolenses

Quartz Glass Microlenses Etched by Reactive Ion Etching

Self-Assembled Supermolecular Nanoscale Spherical Microlenses

Microlens Arrays Fabricated from Self-Assembled Organic Polymers

Self Assembly of Microlens Arrays Using Global Dielectrophoretic Energy Wells

Microlens Arrays Fabricated from All-Liquid Techniques

Microlenses Produced by Direct Photo-Induced Cross Linking Polymerization

Microlenses Formed by Thermally Reflowing Photoresists

Microlens Arrays Fabricated with Polymer Jet Printing Technology

Microlens Arrays Fabricated through Molding

Microlens Arrays Fabricated by Hot Intrusion

Electrically Driven Tunable Microlenses


Liquid Crystal Microlenses

Liquid Microlenses Encapsulated with Polymer Thin Film Driven by Electrostatic Forces

Tunable Focus Liquid Microlenses Using Dielectrophoretic Effect

Tunable Focus Liquid Microlenses Using Electrowetting

Electrochemically Activated Adaptive Liquid Microlenses

Mechanically Driven Tunable Microlenses


Thin Glass Membranes

Polymer Membranes

Colloidal Hydrogel Dynamically Tunable Microlenses

Liquid Microlenses Tuned by Environmental Stimuli-Responsive Hydrogels

Oscillating Microlens Arrays Driven by Sound Waves

Horizontal Microlenses Integrated in Microfluidics


Two-Dimensional (2D) Microlenses

Optofluidic Microlenses

Tunable Liquid Gradient Refractive Index Lens

Looking into the Future

Commercialization of Microlenses

Future Work


References appear at the end of each chapter.

About the Authors

Hongrui Jiang and Xuefeng Zeng are with the University of Wisconsin–Madison.

About the Series

Series in Optics and Optoelectronics

Learn more…

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
SCIENCE / Physics