Reconfigurable and responsive droplet-based compound micro-lenses

Sara Nagelberg, Lauren D. Zarzar, Natalie Nicolas, Kaushikaram Subramanian, Julia A. Kalow, Vishnu Sresht, Daniel Blankschtein, George Barbastathis, Moritz Kreysing, Timothy M. Swager, Mathias Kolle

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

109 Scopus citations


Micro-scale optical components play a crucial role in imaging and display technology, biosensing, beam shaping, optical switching, wavefront-analysis, and device miniaturization. Herein, we demonstrate liquid compound micro-lenses with dynamically tunable focal lengths. We employ bi-phase emulsion droplets fabricated from immiscible hydrocarbon and fluorocarbon liquids to form responsive micro-lenses that can be reconfigured to focus or scatter light, form real or virtual images, and display variable focal lengths. Experimental demonstrations of dynamic refractive control are complemented by theoretical analysis and wave-optical modelling. Additionally, we provide evidence of the micro-lenses' functionality for two potential applications - integral micro-scale imaging devices and light field display technology - thereby demonstrating both the fundamental characteristics and the promising opportunities for fluid-based dynamic refractive micro-scale compound lenses.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number14673
JournalNature communications
StatePublished - Mar 7 2017

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Chemistry(all)
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Physics and Astronomy(all)


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