Varifocal diffractive lenses for multi-depth microscope imaging

Opt Express. 2022 Apr 11;30(8):12695-12711. doi: 10.1364/OE.455520.


Flat optical elements enable the realization of ultra-thin devices able to either reproduce or overcome the functionalities of standard bulky components. The fabrication of these elements involves the structuration of material surfaces on the light wavelength scale, whose geometry has to be carefully designed to achieve the desired optical functionality. In addition to the limits imposed by lithographic design-performance compromises, their optical behavior cannot be accurately tuned afterward, making them difficult to integrate in dynamic optical systems. Here we show the realization of fully reconfigurable flat varifocal diffractive lens, which can be in-place realized, erased and reshaped directly on the surface of an azopolymer film by an all-optical holographic process. Integrating the lens in the same optical system used as standard refractive microscope, results in a hybrid microscope capable of multi-depth object imaging. Our approach demonstrates that reshapable flat optics can be a valid choice to integrate, or even substitute, modern optical systems for advanced functionalities.