Abstract

We demonstrate a low-cost, electrically tunable diffraction grating that is driven by a dielectric elastomer actuator. The angular tuning range of the polymer-based device is up to 118mrad for the first diffracted order. The achievable grating period change of 32% is an improvement by more than a factor of 150 compared with existing analog tunable diffraction gratings based on hard materials. We show that in combination with a white light source, the presented diffraction grating can be used as a wavelength-adjustable luminous source. Such an illuminant has a potential application in inexpensive color displays that could reproduce all perceivable colors.

© 2006 Optical Society of America

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