In recent years, the use of highly functional optical elements has made its way into our everyday life. Its applications range from use in utility items such as cell phone cameras up to security elements on banknotes or production goods. For this purpose, the Leibniz Institute for Materials Engineering (IWT) has been developing a cutting process for the fast and cost-effective production of hologram-based diffractive optical elements. In contrast to established non-mechanical manufacturing processes, such as laser lithography or chemical etching, which are able to produce optics in large quantities and with high accuracy, the diamond turning approach is extending these properties by offering several degrees of freedom. This allows for an almost unlimited geometric complexity and a structured area of considerable size (several tenth square millimeters), achieved in a single process step. In order to introduce diffractive security features to the mass market and to actual production goods, a high-performance replication process is required as the consecutive development step. Micro injection molding represents a feasible and promising option here. In particular, diamond machining enables the integration of safety features directly into the mold insert. Not only does this make additional assembly obsolete, but the safety feature can also be placed inconspicuously in the final product. In this paper, the potential of micro-injection molding as a replication process for diffractive structured surfaces will be investigated and demonstrated. Furthermore, the optical functionality after replication will be verified and evaluated.
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