Near-Diffraction-Limited Tunable Liquid Crystal Lens With Simplified Design

Liewi Li
Doug Bryant
Tony Van Heugten
Dwight Duston
Philip J. Bos, Kent State University - Kent Campus

Copyright 2013 Society of Photo-Optical Instrumentation Engineers. One print or electronic copy may be made for personal use only. Systematic reproduction and distribution, duplication of any material in this paper for a fee or for commercial purposes, or modification of the content of the paper are prohibited.


A high-efficiency tunable refractive lens based on liquid crystals with concentric electrode rings and a simple unique design of a resistor network is reported, and used to assess the performance of an optimized electrically tunable lens. It has a large number of phase control points to be able to accurately control the phase profile and produce high efficiency. The lens design uses resistors between neighboring electrodes to minimize external connections. The lens optical path difference is measured as a near perfect parabolic shape and the Strehl ratio of about 80% is obtained (comparing to a high-quality glass lens). Image evaluations show a good image quality with diffraction limited resolution, but the contrast is lowered by a large-area haze. The lens design also shows a good switching speed, and adjustable power, allowing it to be used in many applications. An example lens with a diameter of 2.4 mm and a 5 diopter tunable range is used in the evaluations. (C) The Authors. Published by SPIE under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License. Distribution or reproduction of this work in whole or in part requires full attribution of the original publication, including its DOI. [DOI: 10.1117/1.OE.52.3.035007]