skip to main content


Title: MEMS-actuated metasurface Alvarez lens
Abstract

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.

 
more » « less
Award ID(s):
2025489
NSF-PAR ID:
10196524
Author(s) / Creator(s):
; ; ;
Publisher / Repository:
Nature Publishing Group
Date Published:
Journal Name:
Microsystems & Nanoengineering
Volume:
6
Issue:
1
ISSN:
2055-7434
Format(s):
Medium: X
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
More Like this
  1. Abstract Miniature varifocal lenses are crucial for many applications requiring compact optical systems. Here, utilizing electro-mechanically actuated 0.5-mm aperture infrared Alvarez meta-optics, we demonstrate 3.1 mm (200 diopters) focal length tuning with an actuation voltage below 40 V. This constitutes the largest focal length tuning in any low-power electro-mechanically actuated meta-optic, enabled by the high energy density in comb-drive actuators producing large displacements at relatively low voltage. The demonstrated device is produced by a novel nanofabrication process that accommodates meta-optics with a larger aperture and has improved alignment between meta-optics via flip-chip bonding. The whole fabrication process is CMOS compatible and amenable to high-throughput manufacturing. 
    more » « less
  2. Modulation-based control and locking of lasers, filters and other photonic components is a ubiquitous function across many applications that span the visible to infrared (IR), including atomic, molecular and optical (AMO), quantum sciences, fiber communications, metrology, and microwave photonics. Today, modulators used to realize these control functions consist of high-power bulk-optic components for tuning, sideband modulation, and phase and frequency shifting, while providing low optical insertion loss and operation from DC to 10s of MHz. In order to reduce the size, weight and cost of these applications and improve their scalability and reliability, modulation control functions need to be implemented in a low loss, wafer-scale CMOS-compatible photonic integration platform. The silicon nitride integration platform has been successful at realizing extremely low waveguide losses across the visible to infrared and components including high performance lasers, filters, resonators, stabilization cavities, and optical frequency combs. Yet, progress towards implementing low loss, low power modulators in the silicon nitride platform, while maintaining wafer-scale process compatibility has been limited. Here we report a significant advance in integration of a piezo-electric (PZT, lead zirconate titanate) actuated micro-ring modulation in a fully-planar, wafer-scale silicon nitride platform, that maintains low optical loss (0.03 dB/cm in a 625 µm resonator) at 1550 nm, with an order of magnitude increase in bandwidth (DC - 15 MHz 3-dB and DC - 25 MHz 6-dB) and order of magnitude lower power consumption of 20 nW improvement over prior PZT modulators. The modulator provides a >14 dB extinction ratio (ER) and 7.1 million quality-factor (Q) over the entire 4 GHz tuning range, a tuning efficiency of 162 MHz/V, and delivers the linearity required for control applications with 65.1 dB·Hz2/3and 73.8 dB·Hz2/3third-order intermodulation distortion (IMD3) spurious free dynamic range (SFDR) at 1 MHz and 10 MHz respectively. We demonstrate two control applications, laser stabilization in a Pound-Drever Hall (PDH) lock loop, reducing laser frequency noise by 40 dB, and as a laser carrier tracking filter. This PZT modulator design can be extended to the visible in the ultra-low loss silicon nitride platform with minor waveguide design changes. This integration of PZT modulation in the ultra-low loss silicon nitride waveguide platform enables modulator control functions in a wide range of visible to IR applications such as atomic and molecular transition locking for cooling, trapping and probing, controllable optical frequency combs, low-power external cavity tunable lasers, quantum computers, sensors and communications, atomic clocks, and tunable ultra-low linewidth lasers and ultra-low phase noise microwave synthesizers.

     
    more » « less
  3. Confocal microscopes and two-photon microscopes are powerful tools for early cancer diagnosis because of their high-resolution 3D imaging capability, but applying them for clinical use in internal organs is hindered by the lack of axially tunable lens modules with small size, high image quality and large tuning range. This paper reports a compact MEMS lens scanner that has the potential to overcome this limitation. The MEMS lens scanner consists of a MEMS microstage and a microlens. The MEMS microstage is based on a unique serpentine inverted-series-connected (ISC) electrothermal bimorph actuator design. The microlens is an aspheric glass lens to ensure optical quality. The MEMS microstage has been fabricated and the lens scanner has been successfully assembled. The entire lens scanner is circular with an outer diameter of 4.4 mm and a clear optical aperture of 1.8 mm. Experiments show that the tunable range reaches over 200 µm at only 10.5 V and the stiffness of the microstage is 6.2 N/m. Depth scan imaging by the MEMS lens scanner has also been demonstrated with a 2.2 µm resolution, only limited by the available resolution target.

     
    more » « less
  4. Abstract

    Metasurfaces offer a unique platform to precisely control optical wavefronts and enable the realization of flat lenses, or metalenses, which have the potential to substantially reduce the size and complexity of imaging systems and to realize new imaging modalities. However, it is a major challenge to create achromatic metalenses that produce a single focal length over a broad wavelength range because of the difficulty in simultaneously engineering phase profiles at distinct wavelengths on a single metasurface. For practical applications, there is a further challenge to create broadband achromatic metalenses that work in the transmission mode for incident light waves with any arbitrary polarization state. We developed a design methodology and created libraries of meta-units—building blocks of metasurfaces—with complex cross-sectional geometries to provide diverse phase dispersions (phase as a function of wavelength), which is crucial for creating broadband achromatic metalenses. We elucidated the fundamental limitations of achromatic metalens performance by deriving mathematical equations that govern the tradeoffs between phase dispersion and achievable lens parameters, including the lens diameter, numerical aperture (NA), and bandwidth of achromatic operation. We experimentally demonstrated several dielectric achromatic metalenses reaching the fundamental limitations. These metalenses work in the transmission mode with polarization-independent focusing efficiencies up to 50% and continuously provide a near-constant focal length overλ = 1200–1650 nm. These unprecedented properties represent a major advance compared to the state of the art and a major step toward practical implementations of metalenses.

     
    more » « less
  5. A broad range of imaging and sensing technologies in the infrared require large field-of-view (FoV) operation. To achieve this, traditional refractive systems often employ multiple elements to compensate for aberrations, which leads to excess size, weight, and cost. For many applications, including night vision eye-wear, air-borne surveillance, and autonomous navigation for unmanned aerial vehicles, size and weight are highly constrained. Sub-wavelength diffractive optics, also known as meta-optics, can dramatically reduce the size, weight, and cost of these imaging systems, as meta-optics are significantly thinner and lighter than traditional refractive lenses. Here, we demonstrate 80° FoV thermal imaging in the long-wavelength infrared regime (8–12 µm) using an all-silicon meta-optic with an entrance aperture and lens focal length of 1 cm. 
    more » « less