Miniature lenses with a tunable focus are essential components for many modern applications involving compact optical systems. While several tunable lenses have been reported with various tuning mechanisms, they often face challenges with respect to power consumption, tuning speed, fabrication cost, or production scalability. In this work, we have adapted the mechanism of an Alvarez lens – a varifocal composite lens in which lateral shifts of two optical elements with cubic phase surfaces give rise to a change in the optical power – to construct a miniature, microelectromechanical system (MEMS)-actuated metasurface Alvarez lens. Implementation based on an electrostatic MEMS generates fast and controllable actuation with low power consumption. The utilization of metasurfaces – ultrathin and subwavelength-patterned diffractive optics – as optical elements greatly reduces the device volume compared to systems using conventional freeform lenses. The entire MEMS Alvarez metalens is fully compatible with modern semiconductor fabrication technologies, granting it the potential to be mass-produced at a low unit cost. In the reported prototype operating at 1550 nm wavelength, a total uniaxial displacement of 6.3 µm was achieved in the Alvarez metalens with a direct-current (DC) voltage application up to 20 V, which modulated the focal position within a total tuning range of 68 µm, producing more than an order of magnitude change in the focal length and a 1460-diopter change in the optical power. The MEMS Alvarez metalens has a robust design that can potentially generate a much larger tuning range without substantially increasing the device volume or energy consumption, making it desirable for a wide range of imaging and display applications.
Multilevel diffractive lenses (MDLs) have emerged as an alternative to both conventional diffractive optical elements (DOEs) and metalenses for applications ranging from imaging to holographic and immersive displays. Recent work has shown that by harnessing structural parametric optimization of DOEs, one can design MDLs to enable multiple functionalities like achromaticity, depth of focus, wide-angle imaging, etc. with great ease in fabrication. Therefore, it becomes critical to understand how fabrication errors still do affect the performance of MDLs and numerically evaluate the trade-off between efficiency and initial parameter selection, right at the onset of designing an MDL, i.e., even before putting it into fabrication. Here, we perform a statistical simulation-based study on MDLs (primarily operating in the THz regime) to analyse the impact of various fabrication imperfections (single and multiple) on the final structure as a function of the number of ring height levels. Furthermore, we also evaluate the performance of these same MDLs with the change in the refractive index of the constitutive material. We use focusing efficiency as the evaluation criterion in our numerical analysis; since it is the most fundamental property that can be used to compare and assess the performance of lenses (and MDLs) in general designed for any application with any specific functionality.more » « less
- NSF-PAR ID:
- Publisher / Repository:
- Nature Publishing Group
- Date Published:
- Journal Name:
- Scientific Reports
- Medium: X
- Sponsoring Org:
- National Science Foundation
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