A recent development in the manufacture of lens arrays could mean that video projectors will become cheaper and better.

In the past, lens arrays could only be manufactured in plastic which melted when used in a projector. However, scientists at the Frauenhofer Institute for Machine Tools and Forming Technology in Germany have now developed a way of manufacturing a flat array in glass.

This flat lens array could replace the system currently being used, where lenses are placed behind each other, and could mean that less space is needed inside the projector. It could also reduce the cost of lenses by up to 90 per cent.

To make glass lenses that would not melt in the heat of the projector, researchers created a special process where the surface structure of the lens array is hot embossed into viscous glass at very high temperatures.

Jan Edelmann, project manager at the institute, explained: “The main challenge is to keep the material exactly at the temperature where it is malleable but not yet molten.”

The new process can be used in mass production so could bring the price of lens components down to a tenth of current prices.