Liquid Lenses in Your Smartphone?

You can expect your smartphone to take pictures with a liquid lens within the next few years. Glass optics (and occasionally plastic optics) have been used for many years in the photography, cinematography, and consumer fields. Glass provides excellent transmittance and clarity, but glass really cannot change shape. A liquid lens, on the other hand, has the ability to shape itself into whatever lens you could possibly need.

So how do these liquid lenses work?
All lenses have a particular shape that allows them to transmit and concentrate light in the fashion the designer intends. For liquid to be shaped into a lens, it is divided into 2 layers: a refractive liquid layer and a non-refractive liquid layer. The conductive non-refractive layer is set to touch electrodes that, when powered, can draw the non-refractive layer toward the electrodes. The refractive layer (the one functioning as a lens) is subsequently drawn toward the non-refractive layer via surface tension. This attraction can be tailored to shape the refractive layer into a perfect optical lens.

Can you zoom?
Well, not yet. Liquid zoom lenses are expected to come around 2014, while non-zooming prime lenses may be available by 2013. The fluid nature of a liquid lens permits it to focus extremely precisely and also to transmit light without much reduction in intensity. Liquid lenses can “stabilize” the image by positioning their electrodes in a certain way; this will make it easier to get blur-free shots without a flash.

The real test for liquid lenses is displaying a proven benefit over traditional glass optics. The hope is that liquid lenses will be able to overcome many of the physical limitations of glass optics with lenses that are of a wider focal length, more telephoto, smaller, and able to transmit light near 100%.

At Gearshift TV, we are always shooting with the most modern and capable equipment. We stay up to date on all the current trends and advances in image quality so that we can produce flawless video and photography for your project. Give us a call at 1.877.477.STUDIO to learn more about the many services we offer. We create video for professionals, companies, doctors, bands, attorneys, and any individual looking for true professional expertise.
Jim Folliard
Founder, Director, Cinematographer, Photographer & Editor
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