Optics: Metalens, “beyond” lens

Shrinking Technology

The Structure of Metalenses

Metalens Breakthroughs

  • In January, the SEAS team at Harvard announced the development of a new “polarization-insensitive metalens comprising non-symmetric nanofins that can achromatically focus light across the visible spectrum without aberrations.”4Previously metalenses could only focus circular non-polarized light, effectively losing half of the incident light which did not match the polarization.
  • In May, mathematicians at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) published the results of their work to develop a computational technique that quickly determines the optimal makeup and arrangement of metalens nanoelements. This will enable makers to design metalens patterns to meet specific objectives, such as controlling colors or creating different shaped beams.
  • In July, researchers at the University of Michigan announced a new technique that uses a set of metalenses to focus light into a specific pattern, rather than a single point. This approach has implications for any beam-shaping applications such as laser cutting, annealing, and selective crystallization.
  • Also in July, researchers at Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST), develop a method of twisting a slack of metalens films to further control the properties of light. For example, they developed a bifocal metalens with controllable focal length and intensity ratio.

Metalens Applications

  • Chip manufacture — The University of Michigan’s method for creating patterns of light can be applied by chip manufacturers who use light to carve specific patterns onto the surface of a silicon slab. Using metalenses will potentially enable more complex patterns to be produced more efficiently and with a low rate of defects.
  • AR/VR/MR — developers of XR systems continue to wrestle with the challenge of incorporating bulky hardware systems into devices to be worn on the head. Metalenses offer the prospect of tiny optical elements incorporated into small, high-performing, lightweight headsets and smart glasses.
  • Medicine — the enhanced optical capabilities of metalenses can enable more precise diagnostic imaging than ever before, higher-resolution imaging tools such as endoscopes, and new microscope form factors, enabling radiologists, physicians, and lab technicians to see details that were previously invisible.
  1. Capasso, F., “Flat optics: from high-performance metalenses to structured light”, keynote presentation from SPIE Photonics West, 2018, Mary 9, 2018.
  2. Devlin, R., “Optical Metasurfaces: From Fundamental Science to Application”, Drexel University College of Engineering, February 13, 2019.
  3. Chen, W., et al., “A broadband achromatic polarization-insensitive metalens consisting of anisotropic nanostructures”, Nature Communications 10, Article #355, January 21, 2019.
  4. Evarts, H., “Revolutionary Ultra-thin “Meta-lens” Enables Full-color Imaging”, Columbia Engineering, October 3, 2018.
  5. Moscatelli, A., “Tiny Lenses Will Enable Design of Miniature Optical Devices”, Scientific American, July 1, 2019.



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For 4D Sensing, AR, AV/Robot, and AIoT

For 4D Sensing, AR, AV/Robot, and AIoT

Marc. Y. , Tech Leader. Focus on new techs such as 4D Sensing, AR, AV/Robot, and AIoT. More at http://4da.tech/