Skip to content
Licensed Unlicensed Requires Authentication Published by De Gruyter June 25, 2016

Additive manufacturing of optical components

Andreas Heinrich, Manuel Rank, Philippe Maillard, Anne Suckow, Yannick Bauckhage, Patrick Rößler, Johannes Lang, Fatin Shariff and Sven Pekrul


The development of additive manufacturing methods has enlarged rapidly in recent years. Thereby, the work mainly focuses on the realization of mechanical components, but the additive manufacturing technology offers a high potential in the field of optics as well. Owing to new design possibilities, completely new solutions are possible. This article briefly reviews and compares the most important additive manufacturing methods for polymer optics. Additionally, it points out the characteristics of additive manufactured polymer optics. Thereby, surface quality is of crucial importance. In order to improve it, appropriate post-processing steps are necessary (e.g. robot polishing or coating), which will be discussed. An essential part of this paper deals with various additive manufactured optical components and their use, especially in optical systems for shape metrology (e.g. borehole sensor, tilt sensor, freeform surface sensor, fisheye lens). The examples should demonstrate the potentials and limitations of optical components produced by additive manufacturing.

OCIS codes: 220.0220; 160.0160; 160.5470


The authors wish to thank the support from German Federal Ministry of Education and Research, program ‘FHProfUnt’ (IMiSens, grant no. 03FH048PA4).


[1] R. Lachmayer, A. Wolf and G. Kloppenburg, SPIE Newsroom, 10.1117/2.1201511.006233 (2015).10.1117/2.1201511.006233Search in Google Scholar

[2] R. Lachmayer, G. Kloppenburg and A. Wolf, Proc. SPIE 9383, 10.1117/12.2078791 (2015).10.1117/12.2078791Search in Google Scholar

[3] J. Klein, M. Stern, G. Franchin, M. Kayser, C. Inamura, et al., 2, 92–105, (M. A. Liebert Publishers, 2015).10.1089/3dp.2015.0021Search in Google Scholar

[4] T. Bückmann, M. Thiel, M. Kadic, R. Schittny and M. Wegener, Nat. Commun. 5, Article no.: 4130, doi: 10.1038/ncomms5130 (2014).10.1038/ncomms5130Search in Google Scholar PubMed

[5] U. Berger, A. Hartmann and D. Schmid, in ‘Additive Fertigungsverfahren Rapid Prototyping, Rapid Tooling, Rapid Manufacturing’, (Verlag Europa-Lehrmittel, Nourney, Vollmer, Haan-Gruiten, 2013).Search in Google Scholar

[6] Wacker Feature Service, No. 1, ‘Drucken mit Silicon’ (2015).Search in Google Scholar

[7] ZPrinter Projet, 3D Systems.Search in Google Scholar

[8] A. Heinrich, B. Sorg, A. Grzesiak and U. Berger, Proc. DGAO annual meeting, Brno (2015).Search in Google Scholar

[9] A. Heinrich, P. Maillard, A. Suckow, A. Grzesiak, B. Sorg, et al., Proc. SPIE 9525, 10.1117/12.2183168 (2015).10.1117/12.2183168Search in Google Scholar

[10] P. Maillard and A. Heinrich, Proc. SPIE 9628, 10.1117/12.2191280 (2015).10.1117/12.2191280Search in Google Scholar

Received: 2016-4-11
Accepted: 2016-5-20
Published Online: 2016-6-25
Published in Print: 2016-8-1

©2016 THOSS Media & De Gruyter

Scroll Up Arrow