Metalinzy by researchers from Harvard, will improve the picture quality of smartphone cameras to DSLR-level camera

Created by a group of scientists from Harvard miniature lens the size of a sand grain, perhaps by the image quality will be able to successfully compete in the foreseeable future, with images obtained today by means overall, heavy and expensive DSLR-cameras used cameras of smartphones, in the manufacture of contact lenses, advanced nanophotonic in communication networks, in laser microscopy, imaging, spectroscopy, and others. the prototype of the invention has been presented to the interested audience last week, and the report on the work published in the pages of Science at the beginning of this month.

SLR camera DSLR - the bottleneck in today's professional photographers. They allow you to get high-quality captured images, but at the same time are very heavy and bulky. Unfortunately, high-quality and heavy optics, precision mechanics do not allow to reduce the weight and size DSLR-camera at such a pace that there is a reduction of weight and dimensions other equipment. Recently, the development and manufacturing launched mirrorless cameras, for example, Canon EOS M, but the resulting characteristics are not yet allow them to successfully compete with DSLR-cameras.

Miniature metalinzy (meta-lens), developed by researchers from Harvard University based on metamaterial can be used in almost all existing recording technologies today, ranging from photographs and ending images, obtained with the help of powerful optical microscopes and telescopes. Moreover, the use metalinz in cameras of mobile phones and other portable devices will allow to obtain images that rivals the quality of images obtained with the help of semi- and professional DSLR-camera.

metalinzy size - of the order of 2 mm in diameter, and the cost of their production cost by 2-3 orders cheaper to manufacture than the lens of the optical glass enlightened. "We would like to replace bulky optics," explained Mohammad Khorasaninedzhad (Mohammadreza Khorasaninejad) - Research Project Manager in an interview with Popular Science. Using metalinzy, "... We can reduce costs by 2 or 3 orders of magnitude." In other words, the price of the lens top level of $ 5000 will be able to reduce the potentially endangered S5 dollars, while retaining all of its features. It is very important that the miniature lenses, being flat, can be produced in the same manufacturing plants, where standard computer chips are made.

New metalinzy allow you to take pictures of quality DSLR-camera using a smartphone

The impressive size of the lens DSLR-camera due to the use in their construction of a plurality of optical elements with curved surfaces. Such lenses change the shape of the light rays refract and focus them on the photosensitive surface of the sensor. At the same time some of the light passing through the lens edge, yet falls out of focus image, which leads to blurring the edges. To compensate the effect of chromatic aberration is necessary due to additional corrective lenses, which further increases the cost and increases the overall size of the lens.

In metalinz representing flat quartz plate, which are formed on the surface of a specially-ordered structure of the titanium dioxide, the negative effect due to the chromatic aberration is not by definition. Each individual element metalinzy, externally similar to the set on the edge of a miniature domino size of several tens of x several hundred nanometers, refracts the incoming rays of light in their own way. However, all of these elements in the correct order to act as a lens, focusing light rays at a desired point.

The prototype created by scientists is not able to cover the entire range of the visible spectrum. By varying the size of the elements on metalinz surface, the height of "knuckles", the distance between adjacent metalinzami and a number of other parameters the researchers were able to create a lens samples, demonstrating excellent performance in the range of 405, 532 and 660 nanometers, ie. E. Violet-blue, yellow-green and red part of the visible spectrum. For the ways of solving the problem of improving the quality of images with colors and involving a different part of the spectrum, which is that the image does not look quite sharply.

structure metalinzy surface

One of the "brand" of advantages metalinz - incomparably higher performance indicators. That is the conclusion the researchers came back in 2011, when received by the experiments on the efficiency level of 99%. This means that when passing through metalinzu lost only 1% of the luminous flux. And such a result today it is impossible to repeat, even using the best lenses of glass.

Just name the month and year when metalinzy announced a team of researchers from Harvard can get yes smartphone camera lens is problematic. It is clear that the first step towards this goal will be to overcome the problems of quality images throughout the visible spectral range. At the same time, the use of the benefits of development in its present form can be found now: this, for example, the possibility of their use in scientific and technological equipment, engages in the process of processing the laser beam technology and other sources of light of a certain wavelength.


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