A tunable liquid microlens that can be varied from a concave to a convex configuration and which provides three-dimensional adjustment of the position of the focal spot is demonstrated. The tuning is carried out with no reduction of the effective diameter and no surface distortion of the microlens. The focal length is varied by changing the volume of liquid in a microtube. As the focal length is adjusted, three-dimensional adjustment of the focal spot can be obtained by suitably tilting the removable transparent backing. The operating quality of such a microlens is brought out in the results of an experiment: It can be used in such applications as optical switching, optical memory devices with multiple high-density recording, etc. © 2005 Optical Society of America

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