High Aspect Ratio Lithographically Defined Embedded Glass Microlenses

High Aspect Ratio Lithographically Defined Embedded Glass Microlenses

Docket: UAH-P-16024


Fluorescence, optical absorbance, chemiluminescence, and refractive index sensing are among the many analytical techniques in the field of microfluidics requiring optical components. There exist both external and embedded optical sensing systems, with the latter being preferred. Compared to external optical sensing systems, embedded optical sensors provide improved robustness, sensitivity, stability, and multiplexing for lab-on-a-chip devices. Existing integrated optics include in-plane lenses, mirrors, diffraction gratings, and waveguides produced in moldable materials such as polydimethylsiloxane (PDMS). However, these materials are not optimal for some microfluidics applications.

Researchers at UAH have developed a process for fabricating optical elements patterned in a specialized glass in-plane with a microfluidic channel. The process produces features with high aspect ratios, nearly rectangular etch profiles, and optical transparency. In one implementation, optical fibers are embedded in-plane with microlenses fabricated along microfluidic channels, thus increasing portability and user-friendliness. By embedding the microlenses, sensitivity is improved by allowing more light to be collected by the detection fiber.


  • Microfluidics
  • Spectroscopy
  • Optical sensing
  • Chemical sensing


  • Improved robustness, stability and multiplexing for lab-on-a-chip devices
  • Embedded optics increase portability and ease of use
  • Improved sensitivity


  • State of Development: Proof of concept
  • Licensing Status: Available for licensing
  • Patent Status: Patented