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New LCD metal lens realizes electric zoom

Conceptual diagram of an electrically adjustable ultra-thin metal lens developed by Cornell and Samsung engineers. Credit: Daniil Shilkin

Researchers at Cornell University’s Department of Applied Engineering Physics and Samsung’s Institute for Advanced Technology can use voltage to focus instead of mechanically moving parts, a metamaterial like never before. Lens) was created.


The proof of concept opens the door to a range of compact varifocal lenses that can be used in many imaging applications such as satellites, telescopes, and microscopes. Traditionally, light was focused using a bent lens that was adjusted using mechanical components. In some applications, moving a traditional glass or plastic lens to change the focal length is simply impractical due to space, weight, or size considerations.

A metal lens is a flat array of nanoantennas or resonators less than 1 micron thick that acts as a focusing device. However, until now, when metal lenses were manufactured, Focal length According to Melissa Bosch, a PhD student and lead author of a dissertation detailing her research in the journal of the American Chemical Society. Nano letter..

Developed jointly by Samsung and Cornell University researchers, this innovation involved merging metal lenses with well-established liquid crystal technology to adjust the local phase response of metal lenses. This allowed researchers to change the focus of the metal lens in a controlled manner by varying the voltage applied to the device.

“This combination worked as we expected and worked as expected.” Engineering physics And the senior author of the paper. The result is an ultra-thin, electrically adjustable lens with continuous zoom and a total focal length shift of up to 20%. “

According to Bosch, Samsung researchers want to develop technology for use in augmented reality glasses. She sees many other possible applications such as satellites, spacecraft, drones, night-vision goggles, endoscopes, and optical lens replacement for other applications where space and weight savings are a priority.

Maxim Scherbakov, a postdoctoral fellow and co-author of the paper in the Schwetz lab, said researchers have made progress in the fusion of liquid crystals and nanostructures over the last decade, but who applied this idea to lenses? He said he wasn’t there. Currently, the group plans to continue the project and improve the functionality of the prototype.

“For example,” Scherbakov said, “This is lens Works with a single wavelength of red, but is much more useful when working with the entire color spectrum (red, green, blue). “

A research group at Cornell University is currently developing a multi-wavelength varifocal version of the metal lens, using an existing platform as a starting point.

“The other wavelength optimization procedures are very similar to the red optimization procedure. In a sense, the most difficult steps have already been completed, so now we only need to further develop the already completed work. “Bosch said.


Researchers develop millimeter-sized flat lenses for VR and AR platforms


For more information:
Melissa Bosch et al, Electrically Operated Varifocal Lens Based on Liquid Crystal Embedded Dielectric Meta Surface, Nano letter (2021). DOI: 10.1021 / acs.nanolett.1c00356

Provided by
Cornell University

Quote: New LCD Metallens Offers Electric Zoom (June 10, 2021) Obtained from https://phys.org/news/2021-06-liquid-crystal-metalens-electric.html on June 10, 2021

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New LCD metal lens realizes electric zoom

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