Replicated micro-optics is playing an increasingly important role in illumination and sensing systems in automobiles. The introduction of new design methods and improvements in materials and production technology has led to components which can offer superior performance, size and weight compared with classical optical elements. Diffractive Optical Elements (DOEs) for applications such as beam shaping can achieve optical performance which is not possible
with conventional optics. Beam forming elements for use with red and white LEDs play a major role in automotive optics. Customised DOEs can offer significantly more design flexibility and functionality over Fresnel lenses for the complex optical system based on a single or multiple LED source with reflector and wavelength converting resin. Thinner modules and improved efficiency are achieved. With CMOS imager sensors, micro-optical lenslet arrays can improve the effective sensitivity by many factors. UV-embossing and injection moulding are used to produce components in high volumes at low production costs. Replicated mounting and alignment features reduce assembly costs. New materials and processes have been developed to enable wafer-scale production by UV-embossing, producing glass-like components with excellent humidity and elevated temperature stability as well as IR-reflow process compatibility.© (2005) COPYRIGHT SPIE--The International Society for Optical Engineering. Downloading of the abstract is permitted for personal use only.