A real-time dynamically tunable-focus microlens array made from a polymer–liquid-crystal (LC) composite is demonstrated. The polymer was first patterned in microlens array cavities by lamination, and the LC–monomer mixture was then injected to the molded polymer cavities and finally stabilized by UV light-induced networks. Using this new fabrication method, we demonstrated a lens with a spherical shape and a glazed surface. This LC-based microlens can reach ~ 100% light efficiency for linearly polarized light. The saturation voltage of the lens is ~60 V<sub>rms</sub>, and the response time is ~30 ms.
© 2004 Optical Society of America
(050.5080) Diffraction and gratings : Phase shift
(060.5060) Fiber optics and optical communications : Phase modulation
(160.3710) Materials : Liquid crystals
(350.3950) Other areas of optics : Micro-optics
Hongwen Ren, Yun-Hsing Fan, and Shin-Tson Wu, "Liquid-crystal microlens arrays using patterned polymer networks," Opt. Lett. 29, 1608-1610 (2004)