An adaptive lens, which has variable focus and is rapidly controllable with simple low-power electronics, has numerous applications in optical telecommunications devices, 3D display systems, miniature cameras and adaptive optics. The University of Durham is developing a range of adaptive liquid crystal lenses, and here we describe work on construction of modal liquid crystal lenses. This type of lens was first described by Naumov  and further developed by others [2-4]. In this system, a spatially varying and circularly symmetric voltage profile can be generated across a liquid-crystal cell, generating a lens-like refractive index profile. Such devices are simple in design, and do not require a pixellated structure. The shape and focussing power of the lens can be controlled by the variation of applied electric field and frequency. Results show adaptive lenses operating at optical wavelengths with continuously variable focal lengths from infinity to 70 cm. Switching speeds are of the order of 1 second between focal positions. Manufacturing methods of our adaptive lenses are presented, together with the latest results to the performance of these devices.© (2004) COPYRIGHT SPIE--The International Society for Optical Engineering. Downloading of the abstract is permitted for personal use only.