Amid growing excitement about experimental superlenses that are "near-sighted," researchers in California are reporting successful demonstration of a new "far-sighted" superlens with important potential scientific and industrial applications.
Xiang Zhang and colleagues describe their far-field optical superlens (FSL) in an article scheduled for the Feb. 14 issue of the ACS' Nano Letters, a monthly journal.
"The far-field superlens optical imaging has great potential for many exciting applications in optical imaging, electronics manufacturing and biomedical sensing," the researchers report.
Lenses in conventional optical microscopes can produce images of objects roughly half the size of the wavelength of the light used to illuminate the object. Superlenses break that barrier, creating images of objects smaller than the wavelength of light. For optical microscopes imaging biological samples, that could mean imaging never-before-seen objects such as individual proteins traveling along the microtubules that make up a cell's skeleton and act as superhighways for molecular transport.
Zhang and colleagues point out that existing superlenses, including one developed by his group in 2005, can form an image at the near field. The new FSL image more distant objects by capturing and amplifying "evanescent" light waves that are lost in traditional lenses.
Materials provided by American Chemical Society. Note: Content may be edited for style and length.
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