Engineers pioneer flat spray-on optical lens

May 23, 2013
Kenneth Chau, University of British Columbia, is excited about the newly published research that explains how he and his colleagues developed a negative-index material that can be sprayed onto surfaces and act as a lens. Credit: University of British Columbia

A team of researchers, including a University of British Columbia engineer have made a breakthrough utilizing spray-on technology that could revolutionize the way optical lenses are made and used.

Kenneth Chau, an assistant professor in the School of Engineering at UBC's Okanagan campus, worked with principal investigator Henri Lezec and colleagues Ting Xu, Amit Agrawal, and Maxim Abashin at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) in Maryland on the development of a flat lens. Their work is published in the May 23 issue of the journal Nature, and is summarized in an online feature released by NIST.

Nearly all – whether in an eye, a camera, or a – are presently curved, which limits the aperture, or amount of light that enters.

"The idea of a flat lens goes way back to the 1960s when a Russian physicist came up with the theory," Chau says. "The challenge is that there are no naturally occurring materials to make that type of flat lens. Through trial and error, and years of research, we have come up with a fairly simple recipe for a spray-on material that can act as that flat lens."

The research team has developed a substance that can be affixed to surfaces like a glass slide and turn them into flat lenses for ultraviolet light imaging of .

"Curved lenses always have a limited aperture," he explains. "With a flat lens, suddenly you can make lenses with an arbitrary aperture size – perhaps as big as a football field."

While the spray-on, flat lens represents a significant advancement in technology, it is only an important first step, Chau says.

"This is the closest validation we have of the original flat lens theory," he says. "The recipe, now that we've got it working, is simple and cost-effective. Our next step is to extrapolate this technique further, explore the effect to the fullest, and advance it as far as we can take it."

The technology could change the way imaging devices like cameras and scanners are designed.

Explore further: Ultrafast imaging of complex systems in 3D at near atomic resolution nears

More information: All-angle negative refraction and active flat lensing of ultraviolet light, Nature, 2013.

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SolidRecovery
1.6 / 5 (13) May 23, 2013
What level of magnification does the spray on optic lens provide and can the refractive index be tailored? The article doesn't even mention magnification which is the focal point to all the applications sited. (Microscopes, cameras, ect)
chardo137
1.6 / 5 (5) May 23, 2013
Perhaps now we can build a Seriously huge refractor telescope. Sign me up!
TheGhostofOtto1923
1 / 5 (8) May 23, 2013
What level of magnification does the spray on optic lens provide and can the refractive index be tailored? The article doesn't even mention magnification which is the focal point to all the applications sited. (Microscopes, cameras, ect)
I guess you would have to do just a little research

"By engineering the structure to have a refractive index close to −1 over a broad angular range, we achieve Veselago flat lensing, in free space, of arbitrarily shaped, two-dimensional objects beyond the near field. We further demonstrate active, all-optical modulation of the image transferred by the flat lens."
SolidRecovery
1.9 / 5 (14) May 23, 2013
What level of magnification does the spray on optic lens provide and can the refractive index be tailored? The article doesn't even mention magnification which is the focal point to all the applications sited. (Microscopes, cameras, ect)
I guess you would have to do just a little research

"By engineering the structure to have a refractive index close to −1 over a broad angular range, we achieve Veselago flat lensing, in free space, of arbitrarily shaped, two-dimensional objects beyond the near field. We further demonstrate active, all-optical modulation of the image transferred by the flat lens."


That's exactly why I was referring to the THIS article instead of the Journal. Read more closely.
TheGhostofOtto1923
1 / 5 (9) May 23, 2013
I guess you would have to do just a little research

"By engineering the structure to have a refractive index close to −1 over a broad angular range, we achieve Veselago flat lensing, in free space, of arbitrarily shaped, two-dimensional objects beyond the near field. We further demonstrate active, all-optical modulation of the image transferred by the flat lens."


That's exactly why I was referring to the THIS article instead of the Journal. Read more closely.
What journal are you talking about? Are you referring to the original paper which would have answered your questions? Why do you think that press release reprints like the one above need to include everything thats in the paper? That would be a little impractical dont you think?

Especially when links are provided, and GOOGLE is so easy to use... But links require effort, and they are a tad insulting arent they?
SolidRecovery
1.6 / 5 (13) May 23, 2013
What journal are you talking about? Are you referring to the original paper which would have answered your questions? Why do you think that press release reprints like the one above need to include everything thats in the paper? That would be a little impractical dont you think?

Especially when links are provided, and GOOGLE is so easy to use... But links require effort, and they are a tad insulting arent they?


Reprints should have results and evidence to the claim. The research is for a unique material property and process. Material properties along with the process give you the full picture of the research. You can't leave one out and have another. Only both lead to potential applications. I do think you can that as you went out to provide the results. Providing the results of your research is NOT impractical.

The article was from the journal Nature as show in the reference section below the article.
TheGhostofOtto1923
1 / 5 (8) May 23, 2013
Reprints should have results and evidence to the claim
Reprints should contain the contents of the original paper, no more and no less. Obviously. The above press release is not a reprint. Obviously.
You can't leave one out and have another.
Out of what - the reprint or the paper?
Only both lead to potential applications
-Unless the paper was about research which was not intended to include the search for applications. But in the pr above, they did speculate. Not enough for you?
I do think you can that as you went out to provide the results
English please.
Providing the results of your research is NOT impractical.
-which the paper did do. It was about the development of a material with potential applications.

I dont think Wallace Carothers was thinking belted radials when he invented nylon do you? Or ladies stockings? Or parachutes? What do you think SR?
EyeNStein
1 / 5 (9) May 23, 2013
More info Googled and linked:-
http://www.nist.g...lens.cfm
At least it indicates the nature of the metamaterial, rather than most Physorg articles which appear intentionally obscure just to sell articles.
JRi
not rated yet May 24, 2013
The lens he's holding apparently has nothing to do with their research? The paper mentions only lens for UV-light...

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