Abstract

We propose an optical switch based on the electrowetting effect. A transparent oil and a dye-doped water fill a cell. The two liquids are immiscible and form a curved interface. A transparent pillar-shaped platform with a round dome is fixed on the substrate. The dome of the platform is submerged in the water. As a result, light is highly absorbed by the covered water. When the shape of the water is changed, the oil can touch the dome of the platform due to the electrowetting effect. Then the transparent platform and the oil form a channel which can pass through the incident light. Our results show that the system can obtain a high optical attenuation (928:1) and reasonable response time (47ms). The diameter of the aperture can be tuned from 0 to 3.0mm. The proposed optical switch has potential application in light shutters, variable optical attenuators, and adaptive irises.

© 2012 Optical Society of America

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