Tunable Optics: Spectral Imaging and Surface Manipulation on Liquid Lenses

Matthias Strauch

Research output: ThesisDissertation (TU Delft)

230 Downloads (Pure)


This thesis focusses on two aspects of tunable optics: Fabry-Pérot interferometers with a variable distance between their mirrors and electrowetting liquid lenses. The need for a device to detect child abuse has motivated us to design and build a camera that can detect the chemical composition of the upper skin layers of a bruise using a self-made Fabry-Pérot interferometer. The research described in the first part of this thesis has shown that wide-angle spectral imaging can be achieved with compact and cost-effective cameras using Fabry-Pérot interferometers. Designs with a full field of 90◦ in which the Fabry-Pérot interferometer is mounted either in front of an imaging system or behind a telecentric lens system are presented and analysed. The dependency of the spectral resolution on the numerical aperture of the lens system is derived and its value as a design criterion is shown. It is shown that the telecentric camera design is preferable over the collimated design for bruise imaging with a Fabry-Pérot interferometer.
The idea to use a liquid lens for spectral imaging has directed the research towards a new concept of controlling surface waves on the surface of a liquid lens. We investigate and model surface waves because they decrease the imaging quality during fast focal switching. We propose a model that describes the surface modes appearing on a liquid lens and that predicts the resonance frequencies. The effects of those surface modes on a laser beam are simulated using geometrical optics and Fresnel propagation, and the model is verified experimentally. The model of the surface oscillations is used to develop a technique to create aspheric surface shapes on commercially available electrowetting liquid lenses. The surface waves on the liquid lens are described by Bessel functions of which a linear combination can be used to create any circularly symmetrical aspheric lens shape at an instant of time. With these surface profiles, one can realise a large set of circularly symmetrical wavefronts and hence intensity distributions of beams transmitted by the lens. The necessary liquid lens actuation to achieve a desired shape is calculated via a Hankel transform and confirmed experimentally. The voltage signal can be repeated at video rate. Measurements taken with a Mach-Zehnder interferometer confirm the model of the surface waves. The capabilities and limitations of the proposed method are demonstrated using the examples of a Bessel surface, spherical aberration, an axicon, and a top hat structure.
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • Delft University of Technology
  • Urbach, H.P., Supervisor
  • Bociort, F., Advisor
Award date30 Mar 2020
Print ISBNs978-94-028-1994-6
Publication statusPublished - 2020


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