Micromilled optical elements for edge-lit illumination panels

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DOIResolve DOI: http://doi.org/10.1117/1.JMM.12.2.023002
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Journal titleJournal of Micro/Nanolithography, MEMS, and MOEMS
Subjectoptical light guide panels; edge lighting; micro-optics; micromilling
AbstractEdge-lit light guide panels (LGPs) with micropatterned surfaces represent a new technology for developing small- and medium-sized illumination sources for application such as automotive, residential lighting, and advertising displays. The shape, density, and spatial distribution of the micro-optical structures (MOSs) imprinted on the transparent LGP must be selected to achieve high brightness and uniform luminance over the active surface. We examine how round-tip cylindrical MOSs fabricated by precision micromilling can be used to create patterned surfaces on low-cost transparent polymethyl-methacrylate substrates for high-intensity illumination applications. The impact of varying the number, pitch, spatial distribution, and depth of the optical microstructures on lighting performance is initially investigated using LightTools™ simulation software. To illustrate the microfabrication process, several 100×100×6 mm3 LGP prototypes are constructed and tested. The prototypes include an “optimized” array of MOSs that exhibit near-uniform illumination (approximately 89%) across its active light-emitting surface. Although the average illumination was 7.3% less than the value predicted from numerical simulation, it demonstrates how LGPs can be created using micromilling operations. Customized MOS arrays with a bright rectangular pattern near the center of the panel and a sequence of MOSs that illuminate a predefined logo are also presented.
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AffiliationAutomotive and Surface Transportation; National Research Council Canada
Peer reviewedYes
NPARC number21275101
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Record identifier45d5bbec-fba0-4145-938a-4a36a1155c86
Record created2015-05-07
Record modified2016-05-09
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