Variable phase retarder made of a dielectric elastomer actuator

Markus Beck, Reto Fiolka, Andreas Stemmer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

23 Scopus citations


We present a polymeric optical phase retarder that is electrically tunable by a dielectric elastomer actuator. The soft material device affords a large tuning range (14π at λ= 488 nm) combined with high accuracy in optical path length and low drift rate (8.3 nm/min). Furthermore, the phase retarder is not sensitive to polarization, introduces a wavefront distortion <λ/30, and tolerates high power densities (>141 kW/cm2). We show the dynamics for periodic phase modulation and demonstrate a simple drive technique for fast phase stepping. The polymer-based device is inexpensive, easy to fabricate, and its design can be adapted to specific applications.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)803-805
Number of pages3
JournalOptics Letters
Issue number6
StatePublished - Mar 15 2009

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Atomic and Molecular Physics, and Optics


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