SHOHREH SHADALOU. Dynamic Illumination Systems using Freeform Optics. (Under the direction of DR. THOMAS J. SULESKI)
Illumination systems that can create light patterns of varying sizes or shapes with high efficiency and uniformity are advantageous for a range of applications, including lighting, augmented/virtual reality, laser-based manufacturing, medicine/dermatology, and lithography. Previous approaches for continuous variable illumination have utilized longitudinal movement of the source or other optical components along the optical axis, which increases both system size and light pattern non uniformity. Liquid lenses with adjustable membranes have also been used for tunable illumination, but leakage and manufacturing complexity can be significant issues. Thus, new approaches that enable dynamically tunable illumination patterns in compact, robust packages are of interest.
Recent advances in design, production and metrology have enabled the use of freeform surfaces in a wide range of optical imaging applications. As one example, the Alvarez lens consists of a pair of cubic freeform surfaces that enable variable focal length with small lateral displacements between the two elements. Complex freeform surfaces are also regularly used in static illumination systems such as automotive headlights and luminaires.
The primary objectives of this dissertation are to explore and characterize dynamic freeform optical systems enabling continuously variable illumination. Results are addressed through three articles. The first article introduces the use of arrays of freeform Alvarez lenses with LED sources to enable tunable illumination. The second article builds from this work to present the design, manufacturing, and characterization of a compact tunable illumination system. The third article introduces a general design method using freeform optics to enable variable optical illumination between two arbitrary boundary conditions. These three articles demonstrate the methods and utility of freeform optics for dynamic illumination systems.