Manufacturing of lens array prototypes containing spherical and fresnel lenses for visible light communications using stereolithography apparatus

Additive manufacturing (AM) and rapid prototyping process (RPP) have revolutionized the production of 3D objects in the last few decades. RPP has considerably increased the rate of production and the possibility of manufacturing prototypes in the fields of electrical, optical, and mechanical engineering. The manufacturing of optical prototypes including spherical, aspheric, and special kinds of lenses and lens arrays has reformed the fabrication of optical components. In this paper, specifically designed lens array prototypes for application in visible light communication (VLC) are introduced. These lens array prototypes are manufactured using the stereolithography apparatus (SLA) process. These lens arrays are designed to achieve optimal transmission of the light beam for VLC systems. One of the prototypes from the lens arrays contains primarily four spherical lenses and one thicker convex lens and the other contains one fresnel lens as a substitute for thicker convex lens. These lens arrays are further post-processed to achieve the required transparency. These lens array prototypes are tested using laser and LEDs. The ON-OFF keying modulated light beam was transmitted through the lens array at the sender side and focused on the photo-receiver using another lens array at the receiver side which is 200 cm apart. After evaluating these lens prototypes, it can be concluded that with appropriate post-processing and high-resolution stereolithography based manufacturing, a low data rate VLC link can be formed.