Monolithic microlens frames enable the fabrication of monolithic laser diode arrays and are manufactured inexpensively with high registration, and with inherent focal length compensation for any lens diameter variation. A monolithic substrate is used to fabricate a low-cost microlens array. The substrate is wet-etched or sawed with a series of v-grooves. The v-grooves can be created by wet-etching, by exploiting the large etch-rate selectivity of different crystal planes. The v-grooves provide a support frame for either cylindrical or custom-shaped microlenses. Because the microlens frames are formed by photolithographic semiconductor batch-processing techniques, they can be formed inexpensively over large areas with precise lateral and vertical registration. The v-groove has an important advantage for preserving the correct focus for lenses of varying diameter.
The United States Government has rights in this invention pursuant to Contract No. W-7405-ENG-48 between the United States Department of Energy and the University of California for the operation of Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory.