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New Camera Lens Technology on the Horizon

New Camera Lens Technology on the Horizon

Each and every photographer, no matter how good or bad he might be, knows that a quality lens is incredibly important for making the perfect shot. However, with the current standard in photography being curved lenses, there are many photographers that have similar problems that usually revolve around chromatic aberration. No matter how smooth and elegant a certain design might be, this is an issue that cannot be surpassed by many photographers.

This is why a team of physicists at Harvard came up with the bright idea of designing a brand new lens that could override this issue. They brainstormed for a while and decided to develop a perfectly flat lens that will receive light evenly and accurately. By doing this, the lens will remove the traditional need for color correction.

This brand new flat lens type has the potential to increase the quality of images to a much higher level. Furthermore, it could possibly lead to a whole new wave of smaller and more efficient lens designs that will make it easier for photographers to capture amazing images and allow professional photo editors to do a better job as well.

The flat lens has been around for a while

The first time the concept has been shown was four years ago, in 2012, when it was still a prototype. The John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences at Harvard designed a flat (planar) lens that is thinner than any existing lens and it has an antennae made out of nano-silicon to direct the light to where it is needed. By placing the silicon antennae properly, it is possible to bend light into the focal point almost instantly. With traditional lenses it is only possible to do this gradually.

How traditional lenses work

The scientists at Harvard explained that the problem with curved lenses is that there are different wavelengths that flow through it, and in different directions. Because of this same wavelengths hit the focal point of the camera at different times or miss it completely. The thing is that cameras only need and use a single focal point in order to capture an image. This means that, if some wavelengths miss the focal point, a reduction of accuracy will occur. Curved lenses make up for this loss by having additional lenses behind them in order to manipulate the wavelengths and make them hit the focal point.

How a flat lens works

The difference with the new flat lens is that it uses silicon antennae to control the wavelengths and direct them all into one focal point at the exact same time. All of the wavelengths go through a single thin lens, significantly reducing the chances of wavelengths missing their mark. The researcher behind this project called his new lens design “achromatic metasurface” and it might be the future technology that allows us to break through the limitations that standard flat optics current have.

The commercial patents for flat lenses are expected to hit the market soon and many photographers are excited to try them out and see how much they can improve their images. 

Author: Isabella Foreman 04.07.2016 14:30:52

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