Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Refocusing Lens

A liquid-crystal lens with adjustable focal length developed by researchers from the University of Central Florida, US.Unlike previous liquid crystal lenses, this one actually contains a mixture of liquid-crystal molecules and smaller N-vinylpyrrollidone monomers, which is poured into a gap between two sheets of glass coated with a conducting metal.The molecules in most liquid crystal lens respond to an electric current by swivelling around to point one way. But in this lens the liquid crystal molecules and the monomers become separated. This alters the refractive properties of the lens. The researchers were about to gradually alter focus by adjusting the electrical current.This could mean compact camera phone lenses that zoom at the flick of a switch. But it could also be good news for glasses-wearers. Especially since researchers at Arizona State University recently developed a pair of glasses (shown above) incorporating liquid crystal lens, although this could only switch between two focal lengths. So now I'm looking forward to one day receiving my first fully self-focusing pair of spectacles. Hopefully they'll be slightly more streamlined that the Arizona State ones.


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