Researchers Discovered an adaptive metalens that is essentially a flat, electronically controlled artificial eye for three of the major contributors to blurry images: focus, astigmatism, and image shift. As Per Study published in the journal Science Advances, demonstrates the feasibility of embedded optical zoom and autofocus for a wide range of applications including cell phone cameras, eyeglasses and virtual and augmented reality hardware.
The Harvard Office of Technology Development has protected the intellectual property relating to this project and is exploring commercialization opportunities. To develop the artificial eye, the Scientists first needed to scale up the metalens.Metalenses focus light and eliminate spherical aberrations through a dense pattern of nanostructures, each smaller than a wavelength of light. Earlier metalenses were about the size of a single piece of glitter.
“Because the nanostructures are so small, the density of information in each lens is incredibly high,” said She. “If you go from a 100 micron-size lens to a centimeter-size lens, you will have increased the information required to describe the lens by 10,000. Whenever we tried to scale up the lens, the file size of the design alone would balloon up to gigabytes or even terabytes.”
To solve this problem, the researchers developed a new algorithm to shrink the file size to make the metalens compatible with the technology currently used to fabricate integrated circuits.
In a paper recently published in Optics Express, the researchers demonstrated the design and fabrication of metalenses up to centimeters or more in diameter.
“This research provides the possibility of unifying two industries; semiconductor manufacturing and lens-making, whereby the same technology used to make computer chips will be used to make metasurface-based optical components, such as lenses,” the researchers said.
The researchers also demonstrated that the lens can simultaneously focus, control aberrations caused by astigmatisms, as well as perform image shift. Together, the lens and muscle are only 30 microns thick.
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