Variable focal lens controlled by an external voltage: An application of electrowetting
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We use electrocapillarity in order to change the contact angle of a transparent drop, thus realizing a lens of variable focal length (B. Berge, J. Peseux, Patent deposited in Grenoble France, October 8th 1997, numéro d'enregistrement national 97 12781). The key point is the application of gradients of wettability, which control the shape of the drop edge, in our case a centered circle of variable radius. The quality and reversibility of the lens are surprisingly good. The optical power variation can be 5 to 10 times the one of the human eye, for a comparable diameter, with a typical response time of 0.03 s and a dissipated power of a few mW.
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