Scientists at Harvard University on Monday unveiled a metalens that has the potential to shrink the size of any device that uses a camera.

This at the same time helps improve the performance of the device.
While traditional lenses are made from glass, metalenses use a flat surface peppered with nanostructures to focus light.One problem with metalenses has been their inability to focus the full spectrum of light.That’s not the case any more, however, as a team at Harvard’s Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Science have developed a metalens that can focus the entire visible spectrum of light — including white light — at a focal point, with high resolution.

The flat metalens is the first single lens that can focus the entire visible spectrum of light, including white light, in the same spot and in high resolution.

An advantage the metalens has over conventional lens systems is that multiple elements aren’t needed to correct for aberrations.

Those multiple elements make lenses thick, and thick lenses mean thicker devices.

“Our lens is a flat lens, so it’s thinner than a conventional lens,” explained Federico Capasso, a professor of applied physics at Harvard explained.

He also mentioned that, if the lens were used in a cellphone, the cellphone could be much thinner.

He added that two components of cellphones, that continue to challenge designers driven to make the devices thinner are the battery and the camera.

“The lens is responsible for the bump on the back of the cell phone that the cell phone companies hate,” Capasso said.

“Right now, a cellphone has six or seven regular lenses. Even if we can cut it down to three, it’ll be extremely significant,” he said.