Science

New colourful metalens creates new possibilities for AR and VR

New colourful metalens creates new possibilities for AR and VR”

Lenses have made some unbelievable progress from the stout old bifocals to small current contact lenses.

However, we are now on the cusp of a revolution in optical technology. Rather than stacking multiple traditional lenses to focus different colors of light, metalenses rely on nanostructures to do so on a single, flat surface.

Though these lenses broke on to the scene a couple of years ago in 2016, there have been some limitations that have kept them from taking over the market. But, these metalenses have remained limited in the spectrum of light they can focus well.

Focusing the complete visible spectrum and white light, which includes all the colors of the rainbow, is hard due to the fact that every single wavelength passes through a conventional lens at different speeds.

To focus the entire spectrum of visible light, cameras stack multiple lenses together.

Colors move through materials like glass at different speeds because they have different wavelengths. It helped them to make every wavelength of light to focus at the same time with same speed. This is because of the different wavelengths.

As blue wavelengths are slower to pass through glass than, say, red wavelengths, they won't reach the eye simultaneously.

This obviously leads to blurry images as the images' focus is off.

But there's a catch: The researchers successfully focused light with this lens, which they call a "metalens", but on an extremely small, nanoparticle scale (nanoparticles can be thousands of times thinner than a human hair).

"Metalenses are thin, easy to fabricate and cost effective", Federico Capasso, the Robert L. Wallace Professor of Applied Physics and Vinton Hayes Senior Research Fellow in Electrical Engineering at SEAS and senior author of the research, said of the development. This breakthrough extends those advantages across the whole visible range of light.

'This is the next big step'.

As per the published report, to eliminate the problem of chromatic aberration, the team use titanium dioxide nanofins arranged onto the flat lens surfaces.

Previous research has shown that, depending on their shape, size and position, nanofins can focus different light waves. In the study team's design, paired nanofins were created to control the pace of passing wavelengths of light at the same time.

These nanofins help regulate the refractive index of the material, thereby making tiny alterations to the pathway each wavelength takes through the lens.

Study co-author Wei Ting Chen, a postdoctoral fellow at Harvard, said one of the greatest challenges in designing the new "achromatic" metalens was ensuring that all the wavelengths of light passing through it hit the intended focal point at the same time.

'Using our achromatic lens, we are able to perform high quality, white light imaging. "This conveys us one bit nearer to the objective of fusing them into basic optical gadgets, for example, cameras", said Alexander Zhu, co-creator of the investigation in the discharge.

The possibilities of this entering mainstream optical device technology is endless. On the off chance that stacked lenses turn into a relic of times gone by, the potential utilizations of forthcoming visual innovation like increased reality headsets develop complex. This could allow for devices to exploit this added room for other purposes - like hardware and batteries - or add larger lenses without requiring a larger, heavier device.

As the lenses involve lesser space in the gadget, more should be possible with the picture handling, quality and definition which will make virtual reality (VR) encounters more practical and engaging.



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