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Jan 03, 2018 05:37 PM IST | Source:

Futuristic 'metalens' could mean better phone cameras that take lesser space

This could revolutionise devices such as smartphones in which lesser space taken by the lens could lead to availability of space to install other features

Researchers from Harvard University have developed a new lens that could change camera designs forever. The new lens named ‘Metalens’, as per its developers can focus on all colors of the rainbow and are less bulky and smaller than existing lenses.

As per the report that came in the journal Nature, researchers have successfully focused light using this curve-less lens on nanoparticle scale objects that are thousand times smaller than a human hair. The finding is significant that in future it could allow electronic devices like cameras, phones, and VR headsets to incorporate larger lenses that take up less space.

The traditional lenses come with certain drawbacks. They find it difficult to capture various colour elements in light having different wavelength simultaneously. So to overcome this trouble, cameras use curved edges that allow them to focus on all the incoming light simultaneously to capture an image. This design means that a larger proportion of space is taken by the lenses on a device.

It is here that the new lenses have certain interesting advantages. As per a report by Mashable, the smaller 'nanofins' within the metalens control the speed of the different types of light as they enter the essentially flat lens enabling them to do the same function of a traditional camera using lesser space.

“Metalenses are thin, easy to fabricate, and cost-effective. This breakthrough extends those advantages across the whole visible range of light. This is the next big step,” researcher Federico Capasso was quoted saying in the report.

This could revolutionise devices such as smartphones in which lesser space taken by the lens could lead to the availability of more space to install other features.

While researchers are working towards evolving such lenses to make them commercially usable, they are still a long way from achieving this target. Presently, only nanoparticles can be captured using them.
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