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posted by martyb on Monday February 12 2018, @01:38PM   Printer-friendly
from the picture-that! dept.

Producing the perfect color images we need and love often requires multiple, heavy lenses so that each color focuses in exactly the same plane. Now Penn State engineers have developed a new theory that solves the problem using a single thin lens composed of gradient index materials and metasurface layers to properly direct the light.

"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.

Penn State News

J. Nagar, S. D. Campbell, D. H. Werner. Apochromatic singlets enabled by metasurface-augmented GRIN lenses. Optica, 2018; 5 (2): 99 DOI: 10.1364/OPTICA.5.000099


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  • (Score: 4, Interesting) by SpockLogic on Monday February 12 2018, @02:03PM (2 children)

    by SpockLogic (2762) on Monday February 12 2018, @02:03PM (#636676)

    Fast and ultra light telephoto camera lens would be major development.
    The full range should be available shortly after I shuffle of this mortal coil.

    • (Score: 1, Interesting) by Anonymous Coward on Monday February 12 2018, @05:47PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Monday February 12 2018, @05:47PM (#636752)

      I was thinking that this will revolutionize the design of telescopes. Exciting times!

    • (Score: 2) by Joe Desertrat on Monday February 12 2018, @10:53PM

      by Joe Desertrat (2454) on Monday February 12 2018, @10:53PM (#636862)

      Sigma currently markets a fast 200-500 zoom lens for only about $26,000, for I believe a Canon mount. Sure would be nice to see similar lens as common and as inexpensive as some of their 18-70 or 18-250 lens for all major mounts.

  • (Score: 1) by Wodan on Monday February 12 2018, @03:18PM (8 children)

    by Wodan (517) on Monday February 12 2018, @03:18PM (#636705)

    If they can make those big enough for glasses, that would be an enormous improvement.

    • (Score: 2) by wonkey_monkey on Monday February 12 2018, @05:24PM (7 children)

      by wonkey_monkey (279) on Monday February 12 2018, @05:24PM (#636740) Homepage

      Are glasses overly heavy and cumbersome as they are?

      --
      systemd is Roko's Basilisk
      • (Score: 2) by HiThere on Monday February 12 2018, @05:36PM

        by HiThere (866) Subscriber Badge on Monday February 12 2018, @05:36PM (#636743) Journal

        Some people's glasses are quite clumsy and heavy. Most people don't have that much of a problem. Personally, I wouldn't want thinner and lighter glasses, because they'd be excessively fragile, but different people have different problems.

        --
        Put not your faith in princes.
      • (Score: 3, Informative) by cmdrklarg on Monday February 12 2018, @06:05PM (1 child)

        by cmdrklarg (5048) on Monday February 12 2018, @06:05PM (#636756)

        Thinner lenses would be good for those who need a stronger prescription.

        --
        THE SOFTWARE, IT NO WORKY!
        • (Score: 2) by frojack on Monday February 12 2018, @06:46PM

          by frojack (1554) Subscriber Badge on Monday February 12 2018, @06:46PM (#636772) Journal

          Exactly.
          My prescription in one eye requires much more correction than the other.
          So much so that until high index glass became available, my glasses were so heavy on one side that they tended to sit lopsided on my face due to the weight difference.

          I see this as far more important than making a cell phone thinner. WE DON"T NEED THINNER PHONES!.

          --
          No, you are mistaken. I've always had this sig.
      • (Score: 3, Interesting) by leftover on Monday February 12 2018, @06:17PM

        by leftover (2448) on Monday February 12 2018, @06:17PM (#636760)

        They can be, resulting from combinations of diopter, wedge, cylinder and multifocal designs. Graded index (GRIN) lenses have always been somewhat magical. What would be great is if the metasurface layers could be "printed" onto GRIN blanks such that they accomplished all the variations needed. I have no idea whether that is feasible or totally nonsensical.

        --
        Bent, folded, spindled, and mutilated.
      • (Score: 1) by Wodan on Monday February 12 2018, @08:05PM

        by Wodan (517) on Monday February 12 2018, @08:05PM (#636806)

        more importantly they suffer from Chromatic aberration at higher prescriptions, if I look through the edge of my glasses red and blue are about 2 centimeters away from green, really annoying.

      • (Score: 2) by Joe Desertrat on Monday February 12 2018, @10:48PM (1 child)

        by Joe Desertrat (2454) on Monday February 12 2018, @10:48PM (#636860)

        Are glasses overly heavy and cumbersome as they are?

        If you require a strong prescription and cannot wear contacts your current options are either very heavy glass lenses (which can break if dropped) or more expensive plastic lenses which require extraordinary care during even ordinary cleaning to avoid quickly scratching them up.

        • (Score: 1, Informative) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday February 13 2018, @05:43AM

          by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday February 13 2018, @05:43AM (#637004)

          > plastic lenses which require extraordinary care during even ordinary cleaning to avoid quickly scratching

          Wash any plastic optical surface under running water, with a little liquid soap. This carries any grit away before it has a chance to damage the soft surface. Never touch the lens with anything unless it's under running water (or a clean soft towel for pat-drying after washing). I was taught this years ago by a clever old timer who was washing off plexiglass skylights--with a hose pointed where he was rubbing on the surface.

          I never use any kind of "lens cloth". My plastic lens glasses don't get scratched/cloudy.

  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday February 12 2018, @05:41PM (3 children)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday February 12 2018, @05:41PM (#636748)

    ...could improve cell phone cameras and allow manufacture of thinner cell phones.

    Once again, WE DON'T NEED THINNER PHONES.

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