Innovation Award for Adaptive Lenses

A novel concept for adaptive lenses by Matthias Wapler from the Laboratory for Microactuators presented at the ISOT 2014 has been recognized with the “Innovation in Optomechatronic Research Award”



Adaptive lenses can reduce the complexity of optical systems by avoiding movable parts and reducing the number of lenses. The drawbacks of one of the most common types, fluid-membrane lenses, were so far their relatively bulky size compared to the optical aperture, the limited response time and the inability to tune the aspherical properties of their surface profile. In their contribution “A compact, large-aperture tunable lens with adaptive spherical correction” at the International Symposium on Optomechatronic Technology 2014, the IMTEK researchers Dr. Matthias Wapler, Moritz Stürmer and Prof. Ulrike Wallrabe overcame these limitations by developing a new type of adaptive lens that uses an active glass-piezo composite membrane to directly shape the lens surface.

A first prototype of their concept boasts a response time of only two milliseconds and an outer diameter of 19mm at a 12mm clear aperture. Furthermore, they demonstrated that their actuation method could be used to tune the shape of the lens surface, rather than only its focal length. This can be used to reduce geometric aberrations that arise due to the focusing and usually require the use of many lenses. It is hoped that upon further development, this may pave the way of adaptive lenses into high quality optical systems to make them smaller, cheaper and lighter and enable new high-speed applications.


Benutzerspezifische Werkzeuge