In this paper, we design, fabricate and characterize a new electromagnetically actuated variable-focus liquid lens which consists of two polymethyl methacrylate (PMMA) substrates, a SU-8 substrate, a polydimethylsiloxane (PDMS) membrane, a permanent magnet and a planar electromagnetic actuator. The performance of this liquid lens is tested from four aspects including surface profiling, optical observation, variation of focal length and dynamic response speed. The results shows that with increasing current, the optical chamber PDMS membrane bulges up into a shape with a smaller radius of curvature, and the picture recorded by a charge-coupled device (CCD) camera through the liquid lens also gradually becomes blurred. As the current changes from −1 to 1.2 A, the whole measured focal length of the proposed liquid lens ranges from −133 to −390 mm and from 389 to 61 mm. Then a 0.8 A square-wave current is applied to the electrode, and the actuation time and relaxation time are 340 and 460 ms, respectively. The liquid lens proposed in the paper is easily integrated with microfluidic chips and medical detecting instruments due to its planar structure.
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