26 Nov 2014
Now available from all STEMMER IMAGING companies through Europe, these innovative lenses are designed for use in industrial vision applications where the focal area needs to be quickly adjusted.
Optotune’s lenses basically copy the principle of the human eye. Optotune’s focus tunable lenses are shape-changing lenses based on a combination of optical fluids and a polymer membrane. A circular ring pushes onto the centre of the membrane and the shape of the lens, and hence its focus, can be changed by moving the ring or exerting a pressure on the outer part of the membrane or by pumping liquid into or out of the membrane. A change in lens radius of several microns can have the same optical effect as moving the entire lens several centimetres.
The application of Optotune’s polymer lenses requires a control unit and a Hirose cable. The liquid lenses do not replace conventional optics in a machine vision system. However, when being used with the appropriate optics they allow a much faster change of the focus than traditional solid glass or plastic-based optics which need to be moved backwards and forwards to focus or zoom. Thus, users benefit from smaller, cheaper and faster optical systems.
Mark Williamson, Director – Corporate Market Development at STEMMER IMAGING said: “This is a very interesting technology which has many potential applications for machine vision. They are particular useful where objects of different height need to be measured, since the use of tunable lenses removes the need for mechanical actuators. This reduces both complexity in the set-up and the amount of space needed for the optics. In addition, lens response times of the order of just milliseconds can accommodate high throughput inspections.”
In 2008 Optotune invented a new principle for focus-tunable lenses based on elastic polymer membranes, which allows for focusing electrically within milliseconds free of mechanics. Since then the technology has matured and today Optotune provides cutting-edge focusing solutions for several industries including machine vision, lighting, laser processing and ophthalmology – all manufactured in Switzerland.