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Revolutionary ultrathin, flat lens: Smartphones as thin as a credit card?

Date:
September 19, 2012
Source:
American Chemical Society
Summary:
Scientists are reporting development of a revolutionary new lens -- flat, distortion-free, so small that more than 1,500 would fit across the width of a human hair -- capable in the future of replacing lenses in applications ranging from cell phones to cameras to fiber-optic communication systems. The advance could lead to smart phones as thin as a credit card.
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Scientists are reporting development of a revolutionary new lens -- flat, distortion-free, so small that more than 1,500 would fit across the width of a human hair -- capable in the future of replacing lenses in applications ranging from cell phones to cameras to fiber-optic communication systems. The advance could lead to smart phones as thin as a credit card.
Credit: © bloomua / Fotolia

Scientists are reporting development of a revolutionary new lens -- flat, distortion-free, so small that more than 1,500 would fit across the width of a human hair -- capable in the future of replacing lenses in applications ranging from cell phones to cameras to fiber-optic communication systems. The advance, which could lead to smart phones as thin as a credit card, appears in ACS' journal Nano Letters.

Federico Capasso and colleagues explain that the lenses used to focus light in eyeglasses, microscopes and other products use the same basic technology dating to the late 1200s, when spectacle lenses were introduced in Europe. Existing lenses are not thin or flat enough to remove distortions, such as spherical aberration, astigmatism and coma, which prevent the creation of a sharp image. Correction of those distortions requires complex solutions, such as multiple lenses that increase weight and take up space. To overcome these challenges, the scientists sought to develop a new superthin, flat lens.

Although the new lens is ultra-thin, it has a resolving power that actually approaches the theoretical limits set by the laws of optics. The lens surface is patterned with tiny metallic stripes which bend light differently as one moves away from the center, causing the beam to sharply focus without distorting the images. The current version of the lens works at a specific design wavelength, but the scientists say it can be redesigned for use with broad-band light.


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The above post is reprinted from materials provided by American Chemical Society. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Francesco Aieta, Patrice Genevet, Mikhail A. Kats, Nanfang Yu, Romain Blanchard, Zeno Gaburro, Federico Capasso. Aberration-Free Ultrathin Flat Lenses and Axicons at Telecom Wavelengths Based on Plasmonic Metasurfaces. Nano Letters, 2012; 12 (9): 4932 DOI: 10.1021/nl302516v

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American Chemical Society. "Revolutionary ultrathin, flat lens: Smartphones as thin as a credit card?." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 19 September 2012. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/09/120919125606.htm>.
American Chemical Society. (2012, September 19). Revolutionary ultrathin, flat lens: Smartphones as thin as a credit card?. ScienceDaily. Retrieved June 29, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/09/120919125606.htm
American Chemical Society. "Revolutionary ultrathin, flat lens: Smartphones as thin as a credit card?." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/09/120919125606.htm (accessed June 29, 2015).

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