Standard Method for Evaluating Emerging Flat Lens Technologies

Maybe you’re wearing glasses while reading this, or have a cell phone, binoculars, VR headset, or telescope. All rely on high-quality lenses, which are bulky, expensive and heavy, especially when it comes to drones and satellites, where every gram counts.

However, everything is about to change. New, inexpensive, lightweight flat lenses – about one-thousandth the thickness of a human hair – will make their way into the research labs of our stores and homes. Currently, there are several types of flat lens technologies available. However, the challenge is knowing which version is best suited for the specific application for which it was designed. This problem was solved by Professor Uriel Levy, director of the Center for Nanoscience and Nanotechnology at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem (HU), in collaboration with doctoral student Jacob Engelberg, postdoctoral student. They established a standard method for comparing flat lens technologies and designs, and published their findings in the leading journal Nature Photonics.

The new flat lenses offer clear advantages over conventional lenses. With conventional lenses, the “stronger” the lens (the higher the prescription), the greater the curvature. Also, the larger the lens diameter, the thicker the lens. This has implications, both in terms of weight and size, for products such as consumer electronics, cell phones, VR headsets and drones, for which it is a question of making them as light as possible.

The new flat lenses are incredibly thin and, as the name suggests, they are flat rather than curved. However, there are different flat lens designs and technologies on the market and few guidelines as to which lens is most appropriate for a given need. Additionally, claims of success have been difficult to gauge because there is no universally accepted method for comparing these lenses. And, with a simple production method, based on those used to create silicon chips, these new lenses will be extremely cheap and readily available. Engelberg and Levy stepped in to create a suitable method of comparison. “Adopting the standardized characterization methods we have proposed will help this field move forward,” he said.


Researchers use flat lenses to extend viewing distance for 3D display


More information:

Jacob Engelberg et al, Standardization of Characterization of Flat Lenses, Nature Photonics (2022). DOI: 10.1038/s41566-022-00963-7

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Hebrew University of Jerusalem

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Standard Method for Evaluating Emerging Flat Lens Technologies (2022, March 28)
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