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"If we want high performance optical systems, then we have to overcome material dispersion," said Sawyer D. Campbell, assistant research professor in electrical engineering. "If we don't, we get smeary colors, which significantly degrades image quality."
Single apochromatic lenses -- ones that properly focus the three colors red, blue and green -- that have less curvature and are thinner and lighter could improve cell phone cameras and allow manufacture of thinner cell phones. They also could make lighter, better body cameras, helmet cameras, sniper scopes, thermal imaging devices and unmanned aerial vehicles or drones. In essence, anything that uses lenses to image could be made simpler and lighter.
Lenses - Weight - Jogender - Nagar - Graduate
"Usually there are several lenses, but that increases the weight," said Jogender Nagar, graduate student in electrical engineering. "Our aim is to improve SWaP -- reduce size and weight while increasing performance."
The researchers thought to combine two technologies: that of gradient-index (GRIN) lens, and metasurfaces -- ultra-thin optical layers with sub-wavelength features that manipulate the wavefront in a desired manner. The researchers report the results of their work in the current issue of Optica.
System - Lens - Nagar - Curvature - Lens
"Our system uses one lens," said Nagar. "We use the curvature of the lens, the distribution of materials in the lens, and a metasurface -- a pattern placed on the surface -- to make the lens thinner, lighter, but still focus properly."
Most lenses use curvature to control the focal point, but three separate conventional lenses are needed to focus the three...
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