People have used microlenses since the first microscopes were made in the 1600’s. Conventionally, glass or resin is etched to make tiny lenses with specific properties.
AlpZhi, an ATDC member company, is challenging tradition with a better way to make microlenses. The AlpZhi process removes the variability and complexity of an etching step, instead building each lens with an additive curing process. AlpZhi’s process of precisely controlled resin curing can make higher quality lenses eight times faster and at one-sixth the cost of traditional fabrication methods. As a bonus, the AlpZhi process makes lens prototyping faster and easier, speeding development times of new devices.
Flexible displays, solar panels, and 3DTVs all rely on microlenses and could benefit from this revolutionary new fabrication technique. The AlpZhi method can potentially be used to create other micro-scale devices such as miniature circuits and micro-fluidics components.
AlpZhi gained momentum last March when the small team placed first at the 2010 Georgia Tech Business Plan Competition and took home an additional $10,000 Innovation Prize that recognizes disruptive technologies. Building on the momentum from recognition at the competition, the Georgia Tech startup won a National Science Foundation SBIR Phase I grant late last year. The company is using the grant to fine-tune its resin curing algorithms.
The company’s fabrication technology grew out of founder Amit Jariwala’s Ph.D. research in mechanical engineering at Georgia Tech. Amit believed his new fabrication technique had the potential to be an industry-changing innovation and assembled a team with experience in business and microfabrication manufacturing to lead the company.
AlpZhi’s platform technology is revolutionizing a 400 year old process. With a name that means micro manufacturing, AlpZhi is laser focused on giving customers the ability to make microlenses faster, better, cheaper.