Freeform GRIN Optics for Illumination Design


New methods in freeform optical design have enabled recent improvements in illumination design.  Freeform optical surfaces are often complex and costly to manufacture and test.  Additionally, holes and discontinuities in the illumination pattern (such as exist in the letter ‘B’, for example) require discontinuities in the freeform surface to achieve high contrast levels.  This means more surface variation, sharp corners, draft angles, and overall manufacturing complexity.



This patent application describes systems and methods for implementing complex illumination designs using 3D-printed freeform GRIN materials. The resulting optics have a flat front and rear surface and are able to accommodate holes and discontinuities in the illumination pattern with no increase in manufacturing complexity. With the advent of high-speed inkjet 3D printing techniques, such components will soon be able to be produced at scale with better performance than any other technique on the market today.


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URV Reference Number: 2-21004
Patent Information:
For Information, Contact:
Curtis Broadbent
Licensing Manager
University of Rochester
Greg Schmidt
David Lippman