Lensvector is a SiliconValley-based startup developing an electronically tuneable liquid-crystal lens system that can change a beam of light from spot to flood without any moving optics.

Lensvector is a tech spin-out of Laval University’s Center for Optics, Photonics and Lasers in Quebec, Canada.

A liquid crystal-based spot-to-flood adjustment is cool — I can readily imagine how this tech could drastically reduce the size and complexity of theatrical fixtures — but I wonder if they can “steer” the direction of the light, as implied by the X,Y coordinate sliders in their app below?  And I wonder what the optical efficiency is?


According to their site:

There are no pixels.
A “Hidden layer” is used to shape a controllable electrical field.

With our solution, Liquid Crystal (LC) molecules align to a shaped electric field.

The refractive index is different for the long and short axes of Liquid Crystal molecules. Due to these differences, when the molecules align to the shaped field a gradient of refractive index, hence a lens, is created.

Unlike a traditional curved lens with a uniform refractive index, LensVector’s lens is flat. By changing the electric field the strength (or optical power in diopters) of the lens can be changed.

Lens Vector diagram.gif