OSA's Digital Library

Optics Express

Optics Express

  • Editor: Andrew M. Weiner
  • Vol. 21, Iss. 7 — Apr. 8, 2013
  • pp: 8669–8676

Tunable lenses using transparent dielectric elastomer actuators

Samuel Shian, Roger M. Diebold, and David R. Clarke  »View Author Affiliations

Optics Express, Vol. 21, Issue 7, pp. 8669-8676 (2013)

View Full Text Article

Enhanced HTML    Acrobat PDF (1170 KB)

Browse Journals / Lookup Meetings

Browse by Journal and Year


Lookup Conference Papers

Close Browse Journals / Lookup Meetings

Article Tools



Focus tunable, adaptive lenses provide several advantages over traditional lens assemblies in terms of compactness, cost, efficiency, and flexibility. To further improve the simplicity and compact nature of adaptive lenses, we present an elastomer-liquid lens system which makes use of an inline, transparent electroactive polymer actuator. The lens requires only a minimal number of components: a frame, a passive membrane, a dielectric elastomer actuator membrane, and a clear liquid. The focal length variation was recorded to be greater than 100% with this system, responding in less than one second. Through the analysis of membrane deformation within geometrical constraints, it is shown that by selecting appropriate lens dimensions, even larger focusing dynamic ranges can be achieved.

© 2013 OSA

OCIS Codes
(010.1080) Atmospheric and oceanic optics : Active or adaptive optics
(160.5470) Materials : Polymers
(220.3620) Optical design and fabrication : Lens system design
(230.2090) Optical devices : Electro-optical devices

ToC Category:
Adaptive Optics

Original Manuscript: January 28, 2013
Revised Manuscript: March 23, 2013
Manuscript Accepted: March 26, 2013
Published: April 2, 2013

Samuel Shian, Roger M. Diebold, and David R. Clarke, "Tunable lenses using transparent dielectric elastomer actuators," Opt. Express 21, 8669-8676 (2013)

Sort:  Author  |  Year  |  Journal  |  Reset  


  1. H. Ren and S.-T. Wu, Introduction to adaptive lenses (Hoboken, New Jersey: John Wiley & Sons, Inc., 2012).
  2. M. Blum, M. Büeler, C. Grätzel, and M. Aschwanden, “Compact optical design solutions using focus tunable lenses,” in SPIE Proc. 8167, (2011). [CrossRef]
  3. G. C. Knollman, J. L. S. Bellin, and J. L. Weaver, “Variable-focus liquid-filled hydroacoustic lens,” J. Acoust. Soc. Am.49(1B), 253–261 (1971). [CrossRef]
  4. N. Sugiura and S. Morita, “Variable-focus liquid-filled optical lens,” Appl. Opt.32(22), 4181–4186 (1993). [CrossRef] [PubMed]
  5. H. Ren and S.-T. Wu, “Variable-focus liquid lens,” Opt. Express15(10), 5931–5936 (2007). [CrossRef] [PubMed]
  6. F. Schneider, J. Draheim, C. Müller, and U. Wallrabe, “Optimization of an adaptive PDMS-membrane lens with an integrated actuator,” Sensor Actuat. A.154(2), 316–321 (2009). [CrossRef]
  7. H.-M. Son, M. Y. Kim, and Y.-J. Lee, “Tunable-focus liquid lens system controlled by antagonistic winding-type SMA actuator,” Opt. Express17(16), 14339–14350 (2009). [CrossRef] [PubMed]
  8. G. Beadie, M. L. Sandrock, M. J. Wiggins, R. S. Lepkowicz, J. S. Shirk, M. Ponting, Y. Yang, T. Kazmierczak, A. Hiltner, and E. Baer, “Tunable polymer lens,” Opt. Express16(16), 11847–11857 (2008). [CrossRef] [PubMed]
  9. F. Carpi, G. Frediani, S. Turco, and D. De Rossi, “Bioinspired tunable lens with muscle-like electroactive elastomers,” Adv. Funct. Mater.21(21), 4152–4158 (2011). [CrossRef]
  10. S. Shian, R. M. Diebold, A. McNamara, and D. R. Clarke, “Highly compliant transparent electrodes,” Appl. Phys. Lett.101(6), 061101 (2012). [CrossRef]
  11. S. I. Son, D. Pugal, T. Hwang, H. R. Choi, J. C. Koo, Y. Lee, K. Kim, and J.-D. Nam, “Electromechanically driven variable-focus lens based on transparent dielectric elastomer,” Appl. Opt.51(15), 2987–2996 (2012). [CrossRef] [PubMed]
  12. H. Wang, S. Cai, F. Carpi, and Z. Suo, “Computational model of hydrostatically coupled dielectric elastomer actuators,” J. Appl. Mech.79(3), 031008 (2012). [CrossRef]
  13. P. Brochu and Q. Pei, “Advances in dielectric elastomers for actuators and artificial muscles,” Macromol. Rapid Commun.31(1), 10–36 (2010). [CrossRef] [PubMed]
  14. R. Pelrine, R. Kornbluh, Q. Pei, and J. Joseph, “High-speed electrically actuated elastomers with strain greater than 100%,” Science287(5454), 836–839 (2000). [CrossRef] [PubMed]
  15. F. Carpi, G. Frediani, M. Nanni, and D. De Rossi, “Granularly coupled dielectric elastomer actuators,” IEEE/ASME Trans. Mechatronics16(1), 16–23 (2011).

Cited By

Alert me when this paper is cited

OSA is able to provide readers links to articles that cite this paper by participating in CrossRef's Cited-By Linking service. CrossRef includes content from more than 3000 publishers and societies. In addition to listing OSA journal articles that cite this paper, citing articles from other participating publishers will also be listed.


Fig. 1 Fig. 2 Fig. 3
Fig. 4

« Previous Article  |  Next Article »

OSA is a member of CrossRef.

CrossCheck Deposited