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):
- NSF-PAR ID:
- Publisher / Repository:
- Nature Publishing Group
- Date Published:
- Journal Name:
- Microsystems & Nanoengineering
- Medium: X
- Sponsoring Org:
- National Science Foundation
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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
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