High-Speed 3D Printing of Millimeter-Size Customized Aspheric Imaging Lenses with Sub 7 nm Surface Roughness

Xiangfan Chen, Wenzhong Liu, Biqin Dong, Jongwoo Lee, Henry Oliver T. Ware, Hao F. Zhang, Cheng Sun*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

121 Scopus citations


Advancements in three-dimensional (3D) printing technology have the potential to transform the manufacture of customized optical elements, which today relies heavily on time-consuming and costly polishing and grinding processes. However the inherent speed-accuracy trade-off seriously constrains the practical applications of 3D-printing technology in the optical realm. In addressing this issue, here, a new method featuring a significantly faster fabrication speed, at 24.54 mm3 h−1, without compromising the fabrication accuracy required to 3D-print customized optical components is reported. A high-speed 3D-printing process with subvoxel-scale precision (sub 5 µm) and deep subwavelength (sub 7 nm) surface roughness by employing the projection micro-stereolithography process and the synergistic effects from grayscale photopolymerization and the meniscus equilibrium post-curing methods is demonstrated. Fabricating a customized aspheric lens 5 mm in height and 3 mm in diameter is accomplished in four hours. The 3D-printed singlet aspheric lens demonstrates a maximal imaging resolution of 373.2 lp mm−1 with low field distortion less than 0.13% across a 2 mm field of view. This lens is attached onto a cell phone camera and the colorful fine details of a sunset moth's wing and the spot on a weevil's elytra are captured. This work demonstrates the potential of this method to rapidly prototype optical components or systems based on 3D printing.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number1705683
JournalAdvanced Materials
Issue number18
StatePublished - May 3 2018


  • high-speed 3D printing
  • millimeter-size customized aspheric imaging lenses
  • projection micro-stereolithography
  • sub 7 nm surface roughness

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Mechanics of Materials
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • General Materials Science


Dive into the research topics of 'High-Speed 3D Printing of Millimeter-Size Customized Aspheric Imaging Lenses with Sub 7 nm Surface Roughness'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this