One step closer to freeform optics for innovative lighting solutions

Freeform lenses or mirrors, produced by means of 3D printing or 3D printed moulds, make it possible to create innovative lighting solutions with customised radiation patterns. To introduce companies to the design methodology and possibilities of such optical components, we are organising the workshop 'Freeform Optics' on 29 May in cooperation with KU Leuven.

Sirris is involved in the VIS project 'Lighting Industry 4.0' which focuses on high-tech production means for the lighting of the future. One of the themes that we work on is the design and manufacture of freeform optical components. This specific task is carried out in cooperation with Prof. Youri Meuret of the Laboratory of Lighting Technology (KU Leuven). This research group has a great deal of experience in the optical design of, for example, interior lighting, the measurement and characterisation of lighting and the determination of those lighting characteristics that are important for users.

In collaboration with Sirris, a number of innovative freeform lenses will be produced, using 3D printing and 3D printed moulds. These production technologies make it possible to quickly evaluate innovative lens designs and also use them in practice.  Freeform lenses are ideal for creating innovative lighting solutions in which an accurate radiation pattern is crucial. Examples include lighting spots with a uniform, square or perfectly circular radiation pattern, as well as more complex light distributions.

Progress in several areas

Meanwhile, the project has entered its final phase. The project partners are now in the middle of preparing a pilot line and are further fine-tuning the microstructures for use in lenses. The results in the autumn of 2019 were quite promising, but there were still a few working points: the roughness of the optical surfaces had to be significantly improved, the raised surfaces along every facet had to be eliminated and there were also some quality issues with the laser process. Significant steps have been taken in the last two months: roughness has been significantly reduced, pitting effects have been eliminated and the transition between the facets has greatly improved. A mould is currently being prepared for the replication of these micro-lenses to silicone and to have them optically measured by KU Leuven. This will not only demonstrate the feasibility, but will also be a first step towards greatly improved performance.

In order to introduce companies to the design methodology of freeform optical components and its possibilities, we are organising the workshop ' Freeform Optics' in collaboration with the Lab for Light Technology. It will explain the basics of designing freeform optics for lighting applications, discuss some tools in detail and you will get hands-on experience on the basis of individual test cases. All this is professionally organised by the researchers of the KU Leuven Laboratory for Light.

Interested? Read more about this workshop on 29 May, in our agenda!

The workshop is organised in the context of the VIS project 'Verlichtingindustrie 4.0'.