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New 'flat' single lens technology for smartphones announced

jeffb

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A new company called Metalenz, which emerges from stealth mode today, is looking to disrupt smartphone cameras with a single, flat lens system that utilizes a technology called optical metasurfaces. A camera built around this new lens tech can produce an image of the same if not better quality as traditional lenses, collect more light for brighter photos, and can even enable new forms of sensing in phones, all while taking up less space.

Instead of using plastic and glass lens elements stacked over an image sensor, Metalenz's design uses a single lens built on a glass wafer that is between 1x1 to 3x3 millimeter in size. Look very closely under a microscope and you'll see nanostructures measuring one-thousandth the width of a human hair. Those nanostructures bend light rays in a way that corrects for many of the shortcomings of single-lens camera systems.


 

DWG

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How about 10" by 10", in the 1980s?

Flat lenses aren't new, they were the diffractive/holographic optics of the F-16C/D HUD. This sounds like it's using an expansion of the same technique of using a fresnel lens, but layering multiple copies in some fashion.
 

Hobbes

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What's new is the scale of the features on the lens. A Fresnel lens has ridges that are visible to the naked eye. The large size of these features leads to visible artifacts when you use a Fresnel lens for imaging.
Metalenz found a way to manufacture lenses where the features are nanometer-sized, i.e. a million times smaller.
 

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