Evaluating the Performance of Electrowetting Optics Under Vibrational Loading

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The US Navy seeks a partner for licensing and collaboration on a method of evaluating optical elements including distinguishing image elements, blur, line of sight jitter, and/or pointing stability.

Vibration can negatively impact the performance of optical systems used in imaging, laser pointing, and laser designation. Typically, a lens or system of lenses is used with a camera system. During exposure, where light is being collected by a camera mounted on a platform, if either the platform or an object being imaged moves, the resulting image may be blurred as a function of exposure, time, and relative motion between platform and target. If every element in the imaging system moves together, a resulting image will be clear. However, if there is relative motion of a lens, a camera element, or an imaging system's target the result will be blurring.

Liquid lenses provide better capabilities over solid lenses because they can change focus or tilt using voltage without conventional mechanical elements. However, they can suffer from undesirable effects due to vibration. One approach to reducing the effects of vibration on liquid lenses is to reduce the size of the lens. However, light collection and imaging capabilities are reduced as the size is reduced, thus limiting the ability to use the lenses.

NSWC Crane has designed a test method for evaluating optical elements for resolution to distinguish image elements, blur, line of sight jitter, and/or pointing stability. The test system includes a vibration loading system, an acceleration sensor, and a mount for the system under test. An illumination target emits light that passes through the optical element's lens and is captured by the imaging system. A light control system controls the illumination target system based on activation command and a test control system. The data is synchronized with acceleration sensor data and analyzed real-time or post-processing.
Utility Patent
United States
Mar 21, 2017
Purdue Office of Technology Commercialization
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