The optical axes of electrically tunable liquid crystal (LC) lenses are usually tilted, and the corresponding asymmetric wavefront aberrations hinder the lenses from being diffraction-limited. Looking back at the literature studies since 1979, researchers used different approaches to compensate the tilting of the optical axis for achieving a perfect lens, or they utilized the intrinsically asymmetric wavefront aberration as a physical-planar free-form optics. However, the physics behind axis tilting has not been discussed yet, and the origin of the oblique optical axes of LC lenses in terms of anisotropic properties of molecules requires an investigation. In this paper, we study the origin of the asymmetrical tilting of optical axes of LC lenses. We found that the initial anisotropic molecular tilts (the so-called pretilt angle) result in the dielectric torque difference even under a rotationally symmetric electric field. Moreover, it is discovered that the rotational symmetry of the wavefront can be broken by generating uneven tilt angles of the LC molecules even though the electric potential is rotationally symmetric. Numerical results are presented and discussed to illustrate the mechanism. (C) 2020 Author(s).
- LIQUID-CRYSTAL LENS