We introduce a new concept for the fabrication of birefringent microlenses with high quality and give an overview of existing static birefringent microlens technology. It is shown that liquid crystal monomers and polymers can be used to fabricate high-quality birefringent optical components with the aid of a replication technique. Fabrication and characterization of such systems is described in detail and different configurations for planar microlens arrays are compared. For the first time, it is shown that free-standing birefringent microlens arrays can be fabricated with sufficient quality using organic materials. With the possibility of twisting the optical axis within the optical element, new configurations are introduced that have a different angular dependence compared to planar birefringent systems. © 2004 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.