Adaptive lens, vibrational and gravitational effects, optical gel, optically clear elastomer


Orthodox optical devices, such as lenses, mirrors, and prisms, are composed of solidstate materials, which although well studied and implemented ubiquitously are severely limited in their adaptable properties. An arguably new field of adaptive optics has emerged to further expand photonic manipulation competences of optical components. Fluid-based adaptive optical components were introduced as early as 1968 [1]; such components have the ability to change the shape of their interface surface, thus allowing for a variable curvature profile. The method of manipulation varies greatly, as does the range of surface deformations. A solid-state optical component is affected by system vibration variation only (difference in vibration from one component to the other due to damping effect). By comparison, two large limiting factors of a fluid-based adaptive optical component are the effect of local vibrations on the surface of the device and gravitational effect (when the optical axis of a lens is positioned parallel to gravitational pull). Such a gravitational effect has been mitigated by the invention of the mechanical electrowetting lens [2], which uses density matching of two liquids that make up an adaptive lens. However, this configuration creates an extra limiting factor of density matching two optically clear fluids with a desirable transmission spectrum. This method can also become bulky when a large aperture is needed. In this thesis, two adaptive lens systems are explored. Principles of operation, performance, limitations, as well as future improvements are studied and theorized. iv The first lens uses an optically clear elastomer as the substrate of an adaptive lens and a primitive mechanical manipulation to turn a plano–plano lens into a plano–convex lens. The second lens is composed of an optically clear gel rather than a fluid. Both methods exhibit excellent optical properties regardless of the orientation about the gravitational pull and significantly limit local vibration affects simply by the physical nature of the chosen materials.


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Graduation Date





Wu, Shin-Tson


Master of Science (M.S.)


College of Optics and Photonics


Optics and Photonics

Degree Program









Release Date

May 2014

Length of Campus-only Access

1 year

Access Status

Masters Thesis (Open Access)


Dissertations, Academic -- Optics and Photonics, Optics and Photonics -- Dissertations, Academic

Restricted to the UCF community until May 2014; it will then be open access.