Existing soft actuators for adaptive microlenses suffer from high required input voltage, optical loss, liquid loss, and the need for assistant systems. In this study, we fabricate a polyvinyl chloride-based gel using a new synergistic plasticization method to achieve simultaneously a high optical transparency and an ultrasoft rubber-like elastic behavior with a large voltage-induced deformation under a weak electric field. By compressing the smooth gel between two sets of annular electrodes, a self-contained biconvex microlens is realized that is capable of considerable shape changes in the optical path. Each surface of the dual-curvature microlens can be independently adjusted to focus or scatter light to capture real or virtual images, yield variable focal lengths (+31.8 to −11.3 mm), and deform to various shapes to improve aberrations. In addition to simple fabrication, our microlens operates silently and consumes low power (0.52 mW), making it superior to existing microlenses.
February 16, 2021
ACS Appl. Mater. Interfaces 2021, 13, 8, 10397–10408 Publication Date:February 16, 2021 https://doi.org/10.1021/acsami.0c21497 Copyright © 2021 American Chemical Society