In this work, we synergistically combine laser-induced forward transfer (LIFT) and replica molding for the fabrication of microlenses with control of their geometry and size independent of the material or substrate used. Our approach is based on a multistep process in which liquid microdroplets of an aqueous solution are first printed on a substrate by LIFT. Following a freezing step, the microdroplets are used as a master to fabricate a polydimethylsiloxane (PDMS) mold. A subsequent replica molding step enables the creation of microlenses and microlens arrays on arbitrary selected substrates and by using different curable polymers. Thus, our method combines the rapid fabrication capabilities of LIFT and the perfectively smooth surface quality of the generated microdroplets, with the advantages of replica molding in terms of parallelization and materials flexibility. We demonstrate our strategy by generating microlenses of different photocurable polymers and by characterizing their optical and morphological properties.
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