Electrically Tunable Lens (ETL)-Based Variable Focus Imaging System for Parametric Surface Texture Analysis of Materials

Jorabar Nirwan, Shan Lou, Saqib Hussain, Muhammad Nauman, Tariq Hussain, Barbara Conway, Muhammad Usman Ghori

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


Electrically tunable lenses (ETLs) are those with the ability to alter their optical power in response to an electric signal. This feature allows such systems to not only image the areas of interest but also obtain spatial depth perception (depth of field, DOF). The aim of the present study was to develop an ETL-based imaging system for quantitative surface analysis. Firstly, the system was calibrated to achieve high depth resolution, warranting the accurate measurement of the depth and to account for and correct any influences from external factors on the ETL. This was completed using the Tenengrad operator which effectively identified the plane of best focus as demonstrated by the linear relationship between the control current applied to the ETL and the height at which the optical system focuses. The system was then employed to measure amplitude, spatial, hybrid, and volume surface texture parameters of a model material (pharmaceutical dosage form) which were validated against the parameters obtained using a previously validated surface texture analysis technique, optical profilometry. There were no statistically significant differences between the surface texture parameters measured by the techniques, highlighting the potential application of ETL-based imaging systems as an easily adaptable and low-cost alternative surface texture analysis technique to conventional microscopy techniques.
Original languageEnglish
Article number17
Number of pages17
Issue number1
Early online date23 Dec 2021
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2022


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