Abstract

This Letter presents a tunable liquid lens based on microelectrofluidic technology. In the microelectrofluidic lens (MEFL), electrowetting in the hydrophobic surface channel induces the Laplace pressure difference between two fluidic interfaces on the lens aperture and the surface channel. Then, the pressure difference makes the lens curvature tunable. In spite of the contact angle saturation, the narrow surface channel increases the Laplace pressure to have a wide range of optical power variation in the MEFL. The magnitude of the applied voltage determines the lens curvature in the analog mode MEFL. Digital operation is also possible when the control electrodes of the MEFL are patterned to have an array. The lens aperture and maximum surface channel diameter were designed to 3.2 mm and 6.4 mm, respectively, with a channel height of 0.2 mm for an optical power range between +210 and 30D. By switching the control electrodes, the averaged transit time in steps and turnaround time were as low as 2.4 ms and 16.5 ms, respectively, in good agreement with the simulation results. It is expected that the proposed MEFL may be widely used with advantages of wide variation of the optical power with fast and precise controllability in a digital manner.

© 2012 Optical Society of America

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