The new technology could replace current 'bulky' lenses and transform our cell phones and cameras.
Researchers at Harvard University have discovered a way of sharpening focus and magnify small objects with the help of paint whitener – something that could change the lenses in our cell phones and cameras and create better high-quality images.
The ultra-tiny device measures just 2mm across and is able to magnify better than top-end lenses used in microscopes and has the potential to lead to massive advancements in everyday technology.
Senior author of the research, Federico Capasso of Harvard refers to the technology as “game-changing”
According to the BBC, the current lenses are stacked in order to produce clearer images with less distortion – the new lens is flat and allows much more efficiency with the light’s spectrum. Similar to the curved lens, it is coated in quartz made up of a vast amount of tiny pillars and it’s these pillars that interact with the light – slicing up the beam of light and restructuring it as it passes through the array.
It’s these “metalenses” that will vastly improve image quality and throws away any oddities that common glass lenses produce.
“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 camera, to displays and cell phones,” says Capasso and fellow authors 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.”
They will also be easy to produce as they use the same technology as already established methods of circuit-making.
“But our lenses, being planar, can be fabricated in the same foundries that make computer chips. So all of a sudden the factories that make integrated circuits can make our lenses.”
The study can be found in the journal Science.