Completely integrated, thermo-pneumatically tunable microlens

Opt Express. 2011 Jan 31;19(3):2347-62. doi: 10.1364/OE.19.002347.


An integrated tunable microlens, whose focal length may be varied over a range of 3 to 15 mm with total power consumption below 250 mW, is presented. Using thermo-pneumatic actuation, this adaptive optical microsystem is completely integrated and requires no external pressure controllers for operation. The lens system consists of a liquid-filled cavity bounded by a distensible polydimethyl-siloxane membrane and a separate thermal cavity with actuation and sensing elements, all fabricated using silicon, glass and polymers. Due to the physical separation of thermal actuators and lens body, temperature gradients in the lens optical aperture were below 4 °C in the vertical and 0.2 °C in the lateral directions. Optical characterization showed that the cutoff frequency of the optical transfer function, using a reference contrast of 0.2, varied from 30 lines/mm to 65 lines/mm over the tuning range, and a change in the numerical aperture from 0.067 to 0.333. Stable control of the focal length over a long time period using a simple electronic stabilization circuit was demonstrated.

MeSH terms

  • Computer-Aided Design
  • Equipment Design
  • Equipment Failure Analysis
  • Heating / instrumentation*
  • Hot Temperature
  • Lenses*
  • Miniaturization