Adaptive lenses are an alternative to traditional imaging assemblies. Traditional imaging systems with zoom and/or auto-focus change focal length by the mechanical movement of two or more lenses elements along the optical axis. This is usually accomplished by moving lens elements or groups with a motorized cam. This is an inherently heavy, power hungry and expensive method. In contrast, adaptive optics achieve these same effects by varying the focal length of two or more adaptive optics. In terms of functionality, the fixed focal length and adjustable location of traditional lens systems are replaced by adjustable focal length and fixed location in adaptive systems. In the illustration, the shape of the individual lenses are adjusted to change their individual focal lengths. By leveraging the optical power of static elements (e.g. glass lenses) that surround the adaptive optics, small, coordinated changes in the focal lengths of the adaptive elements result in large changes in system focal length or magnification. Thus, large focal length and "zoom" ranges can be achieved with very little motion in the system, as compared to a traditional zoom lens.
Holochip adaptive lenses leverage fluidic pressure to control the curvature of glass membranes. Each lens comprises an optical fluid encapsulated by two glass membranes. Increasing fluidic pressure leads to a reduction in radius of curvature of each membrane, thereby reducing the focal length of the lens. The effect of increased pressure of shown in the figure below.