Skip to content
Licensed Unlicensed Requires Authentication Published by De Gruyter July 26, 2016

Precision injection molding of freeform optics

Fengzhou Fang, Nan Zhang and Xiaodong Zhang


Precision injection molding is the most efficient mass production technology for manufacturing plastic optics. Applications of plastic optics in field of imaging, illumination, and concentration demonstrate a variety of complex surface forms, developing from conventional plano and spherical surfaces to aspheric and freeform surfaces. It requires high optical quality with high form accuracy and lower residual stresses, which challenges both optical tool inserts machining and precision injection molding process. The present paper reviews recent progress in mold tool machining and precision injection molding, with more emphasis on precision injection molding. The challenges and future development trend are also discussed.


The authors thank Mr. Y. W Guo and Mr. Y. B Lu for their support on diamond machining and injection molding of plastic optics. Acknowledgments are extended to the support of the National Natural Science Foundation (Grant No. 51320105009 and 91423101) and the ‘111’ project by the State Administration of Foreign Experts Affairs and the Ministry of Education of China (Grant No. B07014).


[1] The Nimrud lens/the Layard lens. Collection database. The British Museum. Retrieved Oct 21, 2012.Search in Google Scholar

[2] G. E. R. Lloyd, in ‘Greek Science After Aristotle’, Ed. By M. I. Finley, (Press, Penguin Random House Canada, 2013) pp. 1–208.Search in Google Scholar

[3] [Accessed: 1-Jan-2012].Search in Google Scholar

[4] [Accessed: 20-Jun-2016].Search in Google Scholar

[5] F. Z. Fang, X. D. Zhang, A. Weckenmann, G. X. Zhang and C. Evans, CIRP. Ann-Manuf. Techn. 62, 823 (2013).10.1016/j.cirp.2013.05.003Search in Google Scholar

[6] T. T. Saito, Appl. Optics 14, 1773 (1975).10.1364/AO.14.001773Search in Google Scholar

[7] A. Kobayashi and K. Saito, J. Poly. Sci. 58, 1377 (1962).10.1002/pol.1962.1205816691Search in Google Scholar

[8] R. B. Li, L. B. Kong, Z. H. Zhang, X. Du, X. Chen, et al., Chin. J. Mech. Eng. 49, 144 (2013).10.3901/CJME.2013.01.144Search in Google Scholar

[9] E. Brinksmeier, Y. Mutlugünes, F. Klocke, J. C. Aurich, P. Shore, et al., CIRP. Ann-Manuf. Techn. 59, 652 (2010).10.1016/j.cirp.2010.05.001Search in Google Scholar

[10] Y. Yamamoto, H. Suzuki, T. Okino, Y. Hijikata, T. Moriwaki, et al., Ultra Precision Grinding of Micro Aspherical Surface. In: Proceedings of ASPE Annual Meeting, 558 (2004).Search in Google Scholar

[11] H. Suzuki, T. Kuriyagawa, K. Syoji, K. Tanaka, J. Yan, et al., J. Jpn. S. Prec. Eng. 64, 1350 (1998).10.2493/jjspe.64.1350Search in Google Scholar

[12] Y. E. Tohme, in ‘MOEMS-MEMS 2007 Micro and Nanofabrication: International Society for Optics and Photonics’ (2207), pp. 64620K-K-8.Search in Google Scholar

[13] E. Brinksmeier, R. Gläbe and J. Osmer, CIRP. Ann-Manuf. Techn. 55, 551 (2006).10.1016/S0007-8506(07)60480-6Search in Google Scholar

[14] Z. J. Li, F. Z. Fang, H. Gong and X. D. Zhang, Int. J. Adv. Manuf. Tech. 68, 1717 (2013).10.1007/s00170-013-4970-5Search in Google Scholar

[15] T. Shibasaka and N. Ishida, Trans JSME 75, 2399 (2009).10.1299/kikaic.75.2399Search in Google Scholar

[16] T. F. Dai, F. Z. Fang, X. T. Hu, J. Vac. Sci. Technol. B 27, 1335 (2009).10.1116/1.3049516Search in Google Scholar

[17] Y. Namba, T. Shimomura, A. Fushiki, A. Beaucamp, I. Inasaki, et al., CIRP. Ann-Manuf. Techn. 57, 337 (2008).10.1016/j.cirp.2008.03.077Search in Google Scholar

[18] Y. Tohme, R. Murray and E. Allaire, Principles and applications of the slow slide servo Moore Nanotechnology Systems White Paper (2005).Search in Google Scholar

[19] A. Yi and L. Li, Opt. Lett. 30, 1707 (2005).10.1364/OL.30.001707Search in Google Scholar

[20] C. N. Huang, L. Li and A. Yi, Microsyst. Technol. 15, 559 (2009).10.1007/s00542-008-0706-0Search in Google Scholar

[21] L. Dick, S. Risse and A. Tünnermann, Adv. Opt. Techn. 1, 39 (2012).Search in Google Scholar

[22] X. Zhang, F. Fang, L. Yu, L. Jiang and Y. Guo, Opt. Eng. 52, 023401 (2013).10.1117/1.OE.52.2.023401Search in Google Scholar

[23] X. L. Liu, X. D. Zhang, F. Z. Fang and S. Liu, J. Mach. Tool. Manu. 105, 45–57 (2016).10.1016/j.ijmachtools.2016.03.001Search in Google Scholar

[24] X. L. Liu, X. D. Zhang, F. Z. Fang, Z. Zeng, H. Gao, et al., J. Mach. Tool. Manu. 96, 80 (2015).10.1016/j.ijmachtools.2015.05.008Search in Google Scholar

[25] S. Scheiding, A. Yi, A. Gebhardt, L. Li, S. Risse, et al., Opt. Express 19, 23938 (2011).10.1364/OE.19.023938Search in Google Scholar PubMed

[26] F. Z. Fang and Y.C. Liu, J. Micromech. Microeng. 14, 984 (2004).10.1088/0960-1317/14/7/020Search in Google Scholar

[27] L. B. Kong, C. F. Cheung, S. To and C. T. Cheng, Optik, 124, 2848 (2013).10.1016/j.ijleo.2012.08.061Search in Google Scholar

[28] E. Brinksmeier, R. Gläbe and C. Flucke, Prod. Eng. 2, 33 (2008).10.1007/s11740-008-0082-8Search in Google Scholar

[29] ISO 2015 Optics and photonics – preparation of drawings for optical elements and systems – Part 5: Surface form tolerances.Search in Google Scholar

[30] C. Hopmann and P. Walach, Piezo-based mold design for injection-compression molding of high precision plastics lenses with minimized centering error. In: ANTEC, (Cincinnati, Ohio: Society of Plastic Engineers) (2013).Search in Google Scholar

[31] X. Lu and L. S. Khim, J. Mater. Process. Tech. 113, 189 (2001).10.1016/S0924-0136(01)00606-9Search in Google Scholar

[32] K. M. Tsai, Appl. Optic. 49, 6149 (2010).10.1364/AO.49.006149Search in Google Scholar

[33] K. M. Tsai, C. Y. Hsieh and W. C. Lo, J. Mater. Process. Tech., 209, 3469 (2009).10.1016/j.jmatprotec.2008.08.006Search in Google Scholar

[34] H. E. Lai and P. J. Wang, Appl. Optic. 47, 2017 (2008).10.1364/AO.47.002017Search in Google Scholar

[35] S. Bäumer, in ‘Handbook of Plastic Optics’ (Press, Morlenbach, John Wiley & Sons, 2011) pp. 1–283.10.1002/9783527635443.ch1Search in Google Scholar

[36] S. M. Maus and G. J. Galic, Method and apparatus for injection-compression molding & ejecting paired thermoplastic spectacle lens suited for fully automated dip hardcoating. Google Patents (1998).Search in Google Scholar

[37] K. Saito, T. Nishimoto and H. Asami, Injection compression molding method of a spectacle lens and a spectacle lens produced by using the same. Google Patents (1999).Search in Google Scholar

[38] D. P. Spector and J. M. Kingsbury, Fabrication of thermoplastic optical components by injection/compression molding. Google Patents (1989).Search in Google Scholar

[39] W. B. Young, Appl. Math. Model. 29, 955 (2005).10.1016/j.apm.2005.02.004Search in Google Scholar

[40] W. Michaeli, S. Heßner, F. Klaiber and J. Forster, CIRP. Ann-Manuf. Techn. 56, 545 (2007).10.1016/j.cirp.2007.05.130Search in Google Scholar

[41] H. Huang, K. Li and S. Li, Polym-Plast Technol. 48, 64 (2009).10.1080/03602550802539742Search in Google Scholar

[42] C. C. A. Chen and S. C. Kao, Key Eng. Mater. 364–366, 1211 (2008).Search in Google Scholar

[43] J. J. Niewels, Method and apparatus for injection compression molding using active material elements. Google Patents (2011).Search in Google Scholar

[44] C. C. Chen, F. C. Lee, C. H. Wang and C. H. Yeh, In-mold vibratile injection compression molding method and molding apparatus thereof. Google Patents (2013).Search in Google Scholar

[45] W. X. Chen and K. Wang, Poly. Mater. Sci. Eng. 29, 169 (2013).Search in Google Scholar

[46] M. Stricker, G. Pillwein and J. Giessauf, Kunstst. Int. 4, 15 (2009).Search in Google Scholar

[47] H. B. Daly, K. T. Nguyen, B. Sanschagrin and K.C. Cole, J. Inject. Mold. Technol. 2, 59 (1998).Search in Google Scholar

[48] N. Zhang, S.Y. Choi and M. D. Gilchrist, Macromol. Mater. Eng. 299, 1362 (2014).10.1002/mame.201300459Search in Google Scholar

[49] Q. Su, N. Zhang and M. D. Gilchrist, J. Appl. Polym. Sci. 133 (2016).10.1002/app.43902Search in Google Scholar

[50] M. Chen, D. Yao and B. Kim, Polym-Plast Technol. 40, 491–503 (2001).10.1081/PPT-100002072Search in Google Scholar

[51] D. Yao, T. E. Kimerling and B. Kim Polym. Eng. Sci. 46, 938 (2006).10.1002/pen.20548Search in Google Scholar

[52] D. Yao, S. C. Chen and B. H. Kim Adv. Polym. Technol. 27, 233 (2008).10.1002/adv.20136Search in Google Scholar

[53] G. Zhao, G. Wang, Y. Guan and H. Li, Polym. Adv. Technol. 22, 476–87 (2011).10.1002/pat.1536Search in Google Scholar

[54] H. V. Fairbanks, Ultrasonics 12, 22 (1974).10.1016/0041-624X(74)90082-1Search in Google Scholar

[55] J. Sackmann, K. Burlage, C. Gerhardy, B. Memering, S. Liao, et al., Ultrasonics 56, 189 (2015).10.1016/j.ultras.2014.08.007Search in Google Scholar PubMed

[56] M. Tolunay, P. Dawson and K. Wang, Polym. Eng. Sci. 23, 726 (1983).10.1002/pen.760231307Search in Google Scholar

[57] A. Sato, H. Ito and K. Koyama, Polym. Eng. Sci. 49, 768 (2009).10.1002/pen.21268Search in Google Scholar

[58] Y. J. Yang, C. C. Huang, S. K. Lin and J. Tao, J. Polym. Eng. 34, 673 (2014).10.1515/polyeng-2013-0328Search in Google Scholar

[59] Z. J. Qiu, X. Yang, H. Zheng, S. Gao and F. Z. Fang, Appl. Optic. 54, 8399 (2015).10.1364/AO.54.008399Search in Google Scholar PubMed

[60] C. Y. Wang and P. J. Wang, Appl. Opt. 53, 2523 (2014).10.1364/AO.53.002523Search in Google Scholar PubMed

[61] M. D. Chidley, T. Tkaczyk, R. Kester and M. R. Descour, Flow-induced birefringence: the hidden PSF killer in high performance injection-molded plastic optics. In: Biomedical Optics 2006: International Society for Optics and Photonics, 60820E-E-11 (2006).Search in Google Scholar

[62] J. Yu, F. Z Fang, Z. J. Qiu Appl. Optic. 54, 986–94 (2015).10.1364/AO.54.000986Search in Google Scholar PubMed

[63] J. Shim, J. Kim, J. Lee, C. Park, E. Cho et al., Opt. Express 23, 19743 (2015).10.1364/OE.23.019743Search in Google Scholar PubMed

[64] D. Michaelis, P. Schreiber and A. Bräuer, Opt. Lett. 36, 918 (2011).10.1364/OL.36.000918Search in Google Scholar PubMed

[65] E. Nelson, D. M. C. Claytor, O. M. Lechuga, J. J. Mader, J. Udayasankaran, An overview of freeform optics production, Preceedings of the SPIE 5494 (2004).Search in Google Scholar

[66] [Accessed: 23-Jul-2013].Search in Google Scholar

[67] [Accessed: 17-Sep-2013].Search in Google Scholar

[68] [Accessed: 18-Sep-2013].Search in Google Scholar

Received: 2016-5-16
Accepted: 2016-6-21
Published Online: 2016-7-26
Published in Print: 2016-8-1

©2016 THOSS Media & De Gruyter

Scroll Up Arrow