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Ultra Thin Lens Could Change Camera Designs

Ultra Thin Lens Could Change Camera Designs - A new ultra thin lens created at Harvard could revolutionise the way that cameras work.

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Artist's rendition of flat lens
 An artist's rendtition of the lens, courtesy of Francesco Alta.
A new flat lens developed by scientists at the Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Sciences could revolutionise camera technology as we know it.

The lens is made of a super thin layer of silicone and has gold elements, enabling it to focus light waves without distorting the image. The lens measures just 60 nanometres thick, and could enable camera phones to take pictures of DSLR quality.

The gold within the silicone is etched away in to V shaped grooves which enable the light to go through the sensor at slightly different speeds across the lens, resulting in a distortion free image.

For more information, visit the Harvard SEAS website.
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StuartAt 13 1.1k 8 United Kingdom
30 Aug 2012 4:24PM
It would be interesting to know quite how far they could take this - does it suggest you could have a 400mm lens that is flatter than a pancake lens, thus enabling hand holding in down to much slower shutter speeds. Presumably, the light gathering potential is greater too - so all lenses would be 'fast'. This will be one to watch (although I bet it is years away from any practical application).

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JackAllTog Plus
9 5.0k 58 United Kingdom
30 Aug 2012 4:27PM
Apparently "The flat lens eliminates optical aberrations such as the “fish-eye” effect that results from conventional wide-angle lenses."

I assume that its a prime lens as it uses an etched technique. But with lenses that thin perhaps you could slide a different focal length in instead quite easily. I wonder what would happen if you could stack them?

This could make some excellent pancake lenses.
StuartAt 13 1.1k 8 United Kingdom
30 Aug 2012 5:09PM
I hadn't thought about the stacking potential - you could have a kit of lenses that stack in much the same way as a modular filter set. Having said that, presumably the lenses are build to focus light to a specific point in much the same way as existing lenses and therefore you would need something akin to extension tubes to make it work.

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