Super-achromatic Lens: A New Flat, Ultralight Lens that could change how Cameras are designed | QPT


Imagine digital cameras or smartphones without
the bulky lenses, or eyeglasses with lenses that are paper thin. Researchers have always thought that flat,
ultrathin optical lenses for cameras or other devices were impossible because of the way
all the colors of light must bend through them. Consequently, photographers have had
to put up with more cumbersome and heavier curved lenses. But University of Utah electrical
and computer engineering professor Rajesh Menon and his team have developed a new method
of creating optics that are flat and thin yet can still perform the function of bending
light to a single point, the basic step in producing an image. Instead of the lens having a curvature, it
can be very flat so you get completely new design opportunities for imaging systems like
the ones in your mobile phone Results of this research correct a widespread
misconception that flat, diffractive lenses cannot be corrected for all colors simultaneously. In order to capture a photographic image in
a camera, or for your eyes to focus on an image through eyeglasses, the different colors
of light must pass through the lenses and converge to a point on the camera sensor or
on the eye’s retina. How light bends through curved lenses is based
on the centuries-old concept known as refraction, a principle that is similar to when you put
a pencil in a glass of water and notice that it “bends” in the water. To do this, cameras
typically will use a stack of multiple curved lenses in order to focus all of the colors
of light to a single point. Multiple lenses are needed because different
colors bend differently, and they are designed to ensure that all colors come to the same
focus. Menon and his team discovered a way to design
a flat lens that can be 10 times thinner than the width of a human hair or millions of times
thinner than a camera lens today. They do it through a principle known as diffraction
in which light interacts with microstructures in the lens and bends. In nature, we see this when you look at certain
butterfly wings. The color of the wings is from diffraction. If you look at a rainbow,
it’s from diffraction Menon’s researchers use specially created
algorithms to calculate the geometry of a lens so different colors can pass through
it and focus to a single point. The resulting lens, called a “super-achromatic lens,”
can be made of any transparent material such as glass or plastic. Other applications of this potential lens
system include medical devices in which thinner and lighter endoscopes can peer into the human
body. It also could be used for drones or satellites with lighter cameras in which reducing
weight is critical. Future smartphones could come with high-powered cameras that don’t
require the lens jetting out from the phone’s thin body. Now that Menon and his team have proved the
concept can work, he believes the first applications of their research could become a reality within
five years.

5 Replies to “Super-achromatic Lens: A New Flat, Ultralight Lens that could change how Cameras are designed | QPT”

  1. the inventor should move forward with this, nexoptic is questionable, there are many ways for a single company to fail. I will definitely be saving this video offline since this technology is likley to be suppressed for a number of reasons.

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