2 May 2014 Integrated electrochromic aperture diaphragm
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Abstract
In the last years, the triumphal march of handheld electronics with integrated cameras has opened amazing fields for small high performing optical systems. For this purpose miniaturized iris apertures are of practical importance because they are essential to control both the dynamic range of the imaging system and the depth of focus. Therefore, we invented a micro optical iris based on an electrochromic (EC) material. This material changes its absorption in response to an applied voltage. A coaxial arrangement of annular rings of the EC material is used to establish an iris aperture without need of any mechanical moving parts. The advantages of this device do not only arise from the space-saving design with a thickness of the device layer of 50μm. But it also benefits from low power consumption. In fact, its transmission state is stable in an open circuit, phrased memory effect. Only changes of the absorption require a voltage of up to 2 V. In contrast to mechanical iris apertures the absorption may be controlled on an analog scale offering the opportunity for apodization. These properties make our device the ideal candidate for battery powered and space-saving systems. We present optical measurements concerning control of the transmitted intensity and depth of focus, and studies dealing with switching times, light scattering, and stability. While the EC polymer used in this study still has limitations concerning color and contrast, the presented device features all functions of an iris aperture. In contrast to conventional devices it offers some special features. Owing to the variable chemistry of the EC material, its spectral response may be adjusted to certain applications like color filtering in different spectral regimes (UV, optical range, infrared). Furthermore, all segments may be switched individually to establish functions like spatial Fourier filtering or lateral tunable intensity filters.
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T. Deutschmann, E. Oesterschulze, "Integrated electrochromic aperture diaphragm", Proc. SPIE 9130, Micro-Optics 2014, 913006 (2 May 2014); doi: 10.1117/12.2052213; https://doi.org/10.1117/12.2052213
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