Artificial Eyelid for Protection of Optical Sensors


A novel concept for protection of optical sensor will be described. The device consist of a transparent substrate, a transparent conducting electrode, insulating polymers, and a reflective top electrode layer. Using thin film deposition and photolithographic fabrication techniques commonly available for manufacture of integrated circuits, plus spin coating as commonly used for polymers, the layers can be placed on the substrate and arrays of apertures created with sizes ranging from micrometers to millimeters. Due to the stress gradient between the polymer dielectric and the reflective metal electrodes, the composite thin film structure will open over the aperture area once a 'release layer' is removed by chemical treatment. This is the 'open' condition for the 'eyelid'. By applying a voltage between the transparent conducting the metal electrodes, an electrostatic force is created which closes the 'eyelid'. Upon elimination of the voltage, the stress gradient opens the 'eyelid' again. Preliminary devices have been fabricated and operated up to a frequency of 4kHz and at lifetimes of over 1010 cycles. The power consumption is extremely low. The potential of this technology for a variety of applications will be discussed.


Materials Science and Engineering

Keywords and Phrases

Artificial Eyelid; Optical Sensors; Optical Shutters

Document Type

Article - Conference proceedings

Document Version


File Type





© 2000 SPIE -- The International Society for Optical Engineering, All rights reserved.

Publication Date

01 Mar 2000