Polymeric, electrically tunable diffraction grating based on artificial muscles

Opt Lett. 2006 Sep 1;31(17):2610-2. doi: 10.1364/ol.31.002610.


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 118 mrad 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.

Publication types

  • Evaluation Study

MeSH terms

  • Biomimetics / instrumentation*
  • Biomimetics / methods
  • Elastomers*
  • Electrochemistry / instrumentation*
  • Electrochemistry / methods
  • Equipment Design
  • Equipment Failure Analysis
  • Muscle, Skeletal*
  • Refractometry / instrumentation*
  • Refractometry / methods


  • Elastomers