PR Newswire: EV Group (EVG) announced that it has developed a new micro-lens molding process that can enable volume production of very-high-resolution (up to 8MP and higher) wafer-level optics for use in smart phones, pico projectors and other applications. The new Monolithic Lens Molding (MLM) capability, which was developed in-house by EVG's process development team, is available as an option on the company's IQ Aligner UV nanoimprint lithography (UV-NIL) system or can be upgraded to existing equipment. EVG expects to ship its first IQ Aligner with the MLM option in the first half of 2011.
In wafer-level camera production today, glass substrates are typically used as carrier and spacer wafers for the lenses, which are composed of an optical polymer material. The different material characteristics of these components limit resolution and picture quality. EVG's MLM process overcomes this limitation by eliminating the need for glass substrates. Instead, the polymer is molded between two stamps and then cured with UV exposure by the EVG's IQ Aligner system. By omitting the glass substrates, wafer-level optics manufacturers face fewer constraints on the optic and lens stack design—enabling the production of thinner lens wafers and significantly shorter optical stacks.
In addition, since the IQ Aligner molds the micro-lenses using a room-temperature UV-NIL process versus thermal imprinting, a high degree of precision alignment is achieved between the various elements in the optical lens stack—maximizing device performance.