The fields of applications for microlens arrays are widespread ranging from multi-channel collimation in fiber optics, wave front sensors to imaging and beam shaping tasks. Herein identical lens-lets are arranged on a constant pitch yielding to a regular microlens array. We increase the flexibility of the arrangements to chirped microlens arrays meaning the single lens-lets are neither identical nor placed on a fixed pitch. The describing parameters of the single lenses like radii of curvature, center position and angular orientation depend on the position of the cell within the array. The calculation of the cell parameters can be done either analytically, semi- or fully numerically. One field of application of chirped microlens arrays is the correction of aberrations in cases where the single lenses are dedicated to certain optical channels. We present design considerations, approaches for obtaining the array parameters as well as measurements on prototyped systems with the example of an ultra-thin artificial compound eye objective. Another field of application is the use of chirped microlens arrays for achieving a simplified integration of micro-optical systems. Using the new degree of freedom in the design of the microlens arrays a reduction of the number of optical elements in a micro-optical system can be achieved leading to easier assembly and more cost effective products. We propose a beam shaping system of a laser diode for creation of a line focus with top-hat intensity distribution and present experimental results.© (2006) COPYRIGHT SPIE--The International Society for Optical Engineering. Downloading of the abstract is permitted for personal use only.