Characterization and Evaluation of Optical Elements Under Vibrational Loading

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The U.S. Navy seeks a partner for licensing and collaboration on a test system for liquid lenses that isolates the effect of blur from vibration.

From eye glasses to smartphone cameras and scientific equipment, optical lenses surround and infuse everyday life. Far from the days of glass lenses, liquid lenses are an advanced type of smart lens that can be configured on demand and in real-time, to a variety of applications by simply changing the voltage across the liquid. Liquid lenses are used in applications that require the ability to speedily change the lens's properties, such as auto-focusing and image stabilization.

In certain applications, when capturing data on the quality of the image produced through an electrowetting optical lens, there are problems differentiating between the blur caused by external vibrations (such as through user holding, being in a moving vehicle, etc.) and the blur caused by the shifting of liquid within the lens (like ripples.) A method of testing and characterizing the vibration effects on liquid-based optics to determine the negative impact on performance of systems such as imaging and laser applications.

Current methods of testing to characterize liquid lens vibration use speakers and laser scanning vibrometers, which are not capable of simulating a military grade vibration environment. In addition to the ability to characterize vibration effects, a testing method that does not need expensive, delicate, high-speed camera equipment is needed.

NSWC Crane has developed and patented a testing system and methods of use to perform optical characterization of systems under test, including one or more optical elements for various purposes including evaluation of optical resolution needed to distinguish image elements, blur, line of sight jitter, and/or pointing stability. For more information, please see US Patent 9,462,264 or the related US Patent Application 14/803,018.
Utility Patent
United States
Oct 4, 2016
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