Created an optical lens 10 times thinner than a human hair

A super-thin flat lens created by scientists at the University of Utah may in the near future retire traditional bulky glasses and massive digital cameras. Its thickness is 10 times less than the section of a human hair. Thanks to the new development, in the next five years, paper-thin glass and a whole family of miniature digital gadgets may appear.

Despite their ultra-thin structure, the lenses are able to perfectly focus light at one point, which is a fundamental property of imaging. The project leader, Professor Rajesh Menon, spoke about the nature of the research:

“It is not at all necessary for the lens to have any curvature. The lenses we have developed are absolutely flat, which opens up new possibilities for the design of visualization systems, such as, for example, in mobile phones.

Our results refute the common misconception that flat diffractive lenses cannot be adapted to all colors at the same time.

Unlike the process of refraction of light through a system of conventional curved lenses, Professor Menon created an ultra-thin flat lens in which light diffraction occurs when microstructures in the lens interact.

The device has received the name "superachromatic lens", and can be successfully used, for example, in lightweight cameras of drones and satellites, where every extra gram counts.