Novel liquid crystal metalens gives electrical zoom

Conceptual rendering of an ultrathin, electrically tunable metalens developed by Cornell and Samsung engineers. Credit score: Daniil Shilkin

Researchers from Cornell College’s Faculty of Utilized and Engineering Physics and Samsung’s Superior Institute of Expertise have created a first-of-its-kind metalens—a metamaterial lens—that may be centered utilizing voltage as an alternative of mechanically transferring its parts.

The proof of idea opens the door to a spread of compact varifocal lenses for attainable use in lots of imaging functions resembling satellites, telescopes and microscopes, which historically focus gentle utilizing curved lenses that modify utilizing mechanical components. In some functions, transferring conventional glass or plastic lenses to fluctuate the focal distance is just not sensible as a consequence of area, weight or measurement issues.

Metalenses are flat arrays of nano-antennas or resonators, lower than a micron thick, that act as focusing units. However till now, as soon as a metalens was fabricated, its focal size was laborious to vary, based on Melissa Bosch, doctoral scholar and first creator of a paper detailing the analysis within the American Chemical Society’s journal Nano Letters.

The innovation, developed within the collaboration between Samsung and Cornell researchers, concerned merging a metalens with the well-established expertise of liquid crystals to tailor the native section response of the metalens. This allowed the researchers to fluctuate the main target of the metalens in a managed manner by various the voltage utilized throughout the gadget.

“This mix labored out as we hoped and predicted it could,” mentioned Bosch, who works within the lab of Gennady Shvets, professor of utilized and engineering physics and senior creator of the paper. “It resulted in an ultrathin, electrically tunable lens able to steady zoom and as much as 20% whole focal size shift.”

Samsung researchers are hoping to develop the expertise to be used in augmented actuality glasses, based on Bosch. She sees many different attainable functions resembling changing the optical lenses on satellites, spacecraft, drones, night-vision goggles, endoscopes and different functions the place saving area and weight are priorities.

Maxim Shcherbakov, postdoctoral affiliate within the Shvets lab and corresponding creator of the paper, mentioned that researchers have made progress in marrying liquid crystals to nanostructures for the previous decade, however no person had utilized this concept to lenses. Now the group plans to proceed the venture and enhance the prototype’s capabilities.

“For example,” Shcherbakov mentioned, “this lens works at a single wavelength, pink, however it will likely be rather more helpful when it may work throughout the colour spectrum—pink, inexperienced, blue.”

The Cornell analysis group is now creating a multiwavelength varifocal model of the metalens utilizing the present platform as a place to begin.

“The optimization process for different wavelengths is similar to that of pink. In some methods, the toughest step is already completed, so now it’s merely a matter of constructing on the work already finished,” Bosch mentioned.


Researchers develop a millimeter-size flat lens for VR and AR platforms


Extra info:
Melissa Bosch et al, Electrically Actuated Varifocal Lens Based mostly on Liquid-Crystal-Embedded Dielectric Metasurfaces, Nano Letters (2021). DOI: 10.1021/acs.nanolett.1c00356

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Novel liquid crystal metalens gives electrical zoom (2021, June 10)
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