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05-15-2018

Micromolding of IR Optical Sensor Lenses

Sabic Uses Extem Resin

Example of a proximity sensor with IR emitter lens and separate lens to project receiving signal to the sensor (both lenses in Extem resin) (© Sabic)

Sabic announced an improvement in the production of infrared (IR) optical sensor lenses for proximity sensing and gesture recognition in smartphones and other electronics applications using its Extem thermoplastic polyimide (TPI) resin. Soprod SA, a Swiss molding company, selected the material, which features IR transparency, to mass-produce sensor lenses using micromolding with a multi-cavity tool.

Extem resin can deliver key optical properties needed in IR sensor lenses. These include IR transparency, high refractive index, low haze and no surface defects. Extem resin is available in natural and black, with the black color absorbing visible light but transmitting IR light, which helps increase accuracy for proximity sensing.

The resin's extreme high temperature capabilities (glass transition temperature of 267⁰C/513⁰F) provide the opportunity for use in lead-free reflow soldering processes, which are popular for assembly of miniaturized device components.

Expanded Design Freedom

Extem resin also surpasses epoxy and glass in design flexibility. The Sabic material can be injection molded into lenses with freeform surfaces, while epoxy has geometric limitations and usually needs a substrate layer. Its high shear thinning properties facilitate mold filling, which is essential for small, high-precision parts. The design freedom and the higher refractive index allow the elimination of 1 or 2 layers in an advanced lens design compared to an epoxy solution.

IR optical sensors are widely used to add new functionality in consumer electronics – from phones to video game controllers and drones.

Company profile

SABIC Saudi Basic Industries Corporation

PB 5101
RIYADH 11422
Tel.: +966 140120 033
Fax: +966 140564 427

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