Meta-Lens Will Replace Glass Optics

Posted: Jun 3 2016, 7:23am CDT | by , in News | Latest Science News

Meta-Lens Will Replace Glass Optics
Schematic showing the ultra-thin meta-lens. The lens consists of titanium dioxide nanofins on a glass substrate. The meta-lens focuses an incident light (entering from bottom and propagating upward) to a spot (yellow area) smaller than the incident wavelength. Small meta-lens at the side (red color) showing a different view of the meta-lens. Credit: Peter Allen/ Harvard John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences
  • Flat Lens: A Revolutionary Step in the Field of Optics

Flat lens are the wave of the future. In fact, they mark a revolutionary step in the field of optics.

A flat meta-lens that is composed of paint whitener on a small piece of glass could prove to be revolutionary in its scope. It is only 2mm in its dimensions and thinner than a human hair.

Capable of magnifying very small devices, it can have a focal point greater than many of the most sophisticated microscopes on the planet. It is a fine example of metamaterials. Their new properties emerge from their structural features.

The formations on the surface of these lens are tinier than a single wavelength of light. That is very small, almost a thousandth of a millimeter.

A report on this new form of lens appeared in the journal Science. According to Federico Capasso of Harvard University, the senior author of the report, this technology will be a game changer and it will totally revamp the very ABCs of optics since Newton’s discovery of the science.

The nature of the lens is such that it is radically different from camera and binocular lens. A thin wafer of quartz is coated with many small pillars. These are a few nanometers in width and hundreds of nanometers in length.

Every pillar interacts with light beams and dissects each ray of light and reshapes it in a totally different manner. Calculations made by computers come in handy here.

These metalenses are especially useful since they do not show any aberrations. Such aberrations are the normal fare in optics. To have conquered such a hitch is not a small thing.

The quality of the images is so supersharp that this in itself has revolutionary consequences. These lens are 30% sharper than other high-end microscopes. Yet there are more reasons for rejoicing.

The fabric of conventional lens goes way back to 19th century technology. The new lens though can made in the same industrial units that churn out computer chips.

This novel lens is also very cheap to manufacture. It just takes a few pounds per creation of a unit. Large scale manufacturing will make costs go down even more so. Most of the ingredients in these lens come from chip technology, according to BBC.

So making them won’t be a problem at all. The future uses of this lens are many. There are clearly no hindrances to the number of inventions these lens could be employed to construct. Size is not a problem either. It is indeed a revolution in the making.

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<a href="/latest_stories/all/all/20" rel="author">Sumayah Aamir</a>
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