Patent number 8564884 is assigned to
The following quote was obtained by the news editors from the background information supplied by the inventors: "The present invention relates in general to adaptive optical devices, and more particularly, to liquid lenses, and to imaging systems and imaging methods employing the same.
"Optical focusing is often a slow process due to the delay inherent in moving mechanically a camera's lens until an image is in focus. Although liquids are considered an exotic choice for lens material, there is interest in liquid lenses for applications in adaptive optics requiring fast response, or for applications that require small or cost effective optics. Liquid lenses advantageously avoid the increased weight and fabrication complexity associated with moving solid lenses. The interface of a liquid lens has good optical qualities because of surface tension, which dominates gravity in the sub-milliliter scale, and provides interfaces that are nearly perfectly spherical and optically smooth.
"The recent surge in the use of images and multimedia in consumer-level wireless communications has fueled the pursuit of lightweight and robust adaptive optics. The desire for such lenses extends beyond cell phones and camcorders, however, to advanced technologies in biomedical sensing and imaging, autonomous air and underwater vehicles for surveillance and defense, microscopy and adaptive lithography for micro-manufacturing, etc."
In addition to the background information obtained for this patent, VerticalNews journalists also obtained the inventors' summary information for this patent: "The shortcomings of the prior art are overcome and additional advantages are provided through the provision, in one aspect, of a non-oscillating liquid lens. The non-oscillating liquid lens includes a substrate comprising at least one channel extending through the substrate between a first surface and a second surface of the substrate, and a liquid lens drop comprising a first liquid. The liquid lens drop is held at least partially within one channel of the at least one channel extending through the substrate, and includes a first droplet portion with a first capillary surface protruding away from the first surface of the substrate, and a second droplet portion with a second capillary surface protruding away from the second surface of the substrate. The first droplet portion and the second droplet portion are connected through the one channel. The liquid lens further includes an enclosure which at least partially surrounds the substrate, and which includes a chamber. The one channel of the at least one channel extending through the substrate resides within the chamber of the enclosure. A second liquid is disposed within the chamber, and the second liquid and the liquid lens drop comprising the first liquid are in either direct or indirect contact within the chamber. The liquid lens further includes an actuator which facilitates adjusting configuration of the liquid lens drop within the one channel within the chamber, wherein adjusting configuration of the liquid lens drop adjusts a focal distance of the liquid lens.
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