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Optofluidic Microsystem

Electromagnetic Actuation of Micro-optics: Adaptive Systems on the basis of Ferrofluidic Actuators

 

This project works on the development of a novel concept for tunable micro-optic systems that are based on fluidic principles.

ferrofluid system

 
Ferro-fluidic System
Functional Principle. The lower part of the diagram shows how the ferro-fluidic body is actuated. In consequence, the optically active liquid (upper part of the diagram, marked in red) is displaced.
 

... the film clip below shows the change of radius of curvature of a liquid lens by micro-fluidic actuation

fluidanimation

 A magnetic liquid is moved by means of miniaturized coils in an adaptive opto-fluidic system. This mechanism can influence the shape of the fluidic lens indirectly. By moving the electro-magnetic liquid body (the ferrofluid), the other optically active liquid is displaced within the fine canal structures. In order to guarantee the optimal adjustment to technical features like focal length and geometrical size, the project team works on the further development and improvement of the ferro-fluidic and optically active part of the system.

To begin with, the researchers want to show that such a system permits the adaptive tuning of a fluidic lens. In a second step, they will inject a liquid into the especially molded cavities of the channels. The liquid’s refractive index is adjusted accordingly. Selected optical elements that are tailored to demand can be  placed in the light path. Due to the chosen microfluidic principle, it will be possible to realize different components of geometrical and diffractive optics.

This modular concept is suitable for a variety of micro-optic applications. The actual optical component and the tuning mechanism are built in a compact way. This compactness reduces the size of these systems, which facilitates their integration into more complex devices.

Such systems can be applied in adaptive lenses or tunable optical filters. The chosen approach, however, is most suitable for compact low energy systems. 

 

 

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