Harvard researchers have made a huge discovery that has major implications for the optics industry.
An incredible discovery by researchers at Harvard has major implications for the future of cell phone camera technology, and perhaps even contact lenses and microscopes.
Scientists have created a flat lens made of paint whitener that is just 2 mm across that would be able to magnify nanoscale objects, which could lead to a revolutionary change in optics that affects everything from your cell phone to contact lenses, according to a Harvard University statement.
Unlike curved disks of glass used in cameras and binoculars today, it would use a thin layer of transparent quartz with tiny, microscopic pillars tens of nanometers across. The pillars slice up the light as it passes through the array.
The amazing discovery of “metalenses” would not have the aberrations of standard glass optics, and would improve the quality of images to the point that it heralds a sea change in optics manufacturing. The lenses could also be produced in the same factories that make computer chips, driving down the cost through enabling mass production.
The lenses have applications in mass-produced cameras like those in cell phones. It could also be used in virtual reality headsets, contact lenses, and microscopes.
“This technology is potentially revolutionary because it works in the visible spectrum, which means it has the capacity to replace lenses in all kinds of devices, from microscopes to cameras, to displays and cell phones,” said Federico Capasso, Robert L. Wallace Professor of Applied Physics and Vinton Hayes Senior Research Fellow in Electrical Engineering and senior author of the paper. “In the near future, metalenses will be manufactured on a large scale at a small fraction of the cost of conventional lenses, using the foundries that mass produce microprocessors and memory chips.”