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Tunable lenses

  1. Jan 7, 2008 #1
    I have been reading about the development of liquid crystal - variable focal length - lenses. Manipulating the electric field changes the orientation of the LC's (which are birefringent) and thus changes the index of refraction. The goal is to make small and thin zoom lenses for such things as cell phones.
    My question is more about the optics... it seems that the LC layer is flat but the field varies out from the center producing a continuously varying index of refraction. I can sort-of-picture (very "sort-of") how this will produce a lens effect for non-normal light, but in a traditional ray diagram, wouldn't normal rays still go straight through at each point? It may be that there is a convex lens shape in front of the flat layer which I'm not getting out of the reading. Thanks
  2. jcsd
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