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01-02-2018, 06:43 AM   #1
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Metalenses

Sorry if there is another thread dealing with this technological breakthrough. As I understand the news release I just read, "metalenses" are made of metal rather than glass, with holes to allow light to pass through and be focused in the manner of a glass lens. A recent breakthrough in design has produced a metalens that can focus all wavelengths to the same point = zero chromatic aberration (=100% perfectly apochromatic). Thus a single metalens that is thinner that a single double-convex glass lens can potentially focus an image that is sharper than a multi-element camera lens, and is also potentially easier and cheaper to make!! The people working on these expect they will begin to replace glass lenses first in high-precision optics for use, for example, in satellites and landers sent to the Moon, etc., but they will eventually find their way into ordinary cameras and binoculars with the potential to outperform the best glass lens systems that incorporate both ED and aspheric elements, and the entire device will be smaller, lighter, and significantly less expensive. JEEPERS if it is all true.


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01-02-2018, 07:01 AM   #2
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QuoteOriginally posted by WPRESTO Quote
Sorry if there is another thread dealing with this technological breakthrough. As I understand the news release I just read, "metalenses" are made of metal rather than glass, with holes to allow light to pass through and be focused in the manner of a glass lens. A recent breakthrough in design has produced a metalens that can focus all wavelengths to the same point = zero chromatic abberation (=100% perfectly apochromatic). Thus a single metalens that is thinner that a single double-convex glass lens can potentially focus an image that is sharper than a multi-element camera lens, and is also potentially easier and cheaper to make!! The people working on these expect they will begin to replace glass lenses first in high-precision optics for use, for example, in satellites and landers sent to the Moon, etc., but they will eventually find their way into ordinary cameras and binoculars with the potential to outperform the best glass lens systems that incorporate both ED and aspheric elements, and the entire device will be smaller, lighter, and significantly less expensive. JEEPERS if it is all true.
But will it allow for shallow depth of field, and fast lenses?
01-02-2018, 07:19 AM   #3
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http://www.ibtimes.com/virtual-reality-revolution-single-metalens-can-focus-...gether-2635703

Pretty amazing. So it's a flat lens using nano tech to deal with various wavelengths. Hard to imagine how those nano structures will be able to manipulate depth of field and field of view.

Last edited by Alex645; 01-02-2018 at 07:28 AM.
01-02-2018, 07:24 AM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by timw4mail Quote
But will it allow for shallow depth of field, and fast lenses?
Many question similar questions arise:

1) what is the maximum aperture? f1.4? f11?
2) is it possible to have a the equivalent of an iris diaphragm?
3) can these be made for any focal length?
4) can these be made into a zoom? If so, of what FL ratio?
5) is there any edge fall-off in IQ?
6) are there limits to the image circle (FF, APS-C, MFT, only tiny P&S size sensors)
7) could these be combined with conventional glass lenses to add a variable aperture, zoom, better edge definition, etc?

However, the designers appear to be optimistic that metalenses will eventually replace glass lenses in cameras & binoculars.

I remember reading an article in "Scientific American" back in the 1950's. It dealt with the design of optics and was observing that aspheric lenses had significant advantages for correcting some aberrations, but the technology for making them was still short of being applied for practical manufacture.

01-02-2018, 07:32 AM   #5
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Heres a link that helps to explain. Oh my! My head is starting to hurt again.

These Tiny, Incredible 'Metalenses' are the Next Giant Leap in Optics
01-02-2018, 07:57 AM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by honey bo bo Quote
Heres a link that helps to explain. Oh my! My head is starting to hurt again.

These Tiny, Incredible 'Metalenses' are the Next Giant Leap in Optics

Many thanks to adding a link to more extensive information
01-02-2018, 08:15 PM   #7
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But what about the pixies?
01-03-2018, 04:20 AM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by clickclick Quote
But what about the pixies?
They'll be out of a home.

01-03-2018, 07:17 AM - 1 Like   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by honey bo bo Quote
Heres a link that helps to explain. Oh my! My head is starting to hurt again.

These Tiny, Incredible 'Metalenses' are the Next Giant Leap in Optics
The article emphasises "tiny", but you cannot get around the fact that the light energy collected is proportional to the area of the lens, whatever it is made of. The prototype is tiny in diameter, no doubt because that is all that the lab could make, or could afford to make, or was needed to demonstrate the concept. The journo's got the wrong end of the stick and think that the small diameter is a positive feature of the thing. It will need to be a lot wider to be useful; give it time.

Last edited by Lord Lucan; 01-03-2018 at 07:21 AM. Reason: Spelling
01-03-2018, 07:39 AM   #10
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If I read correctly, the manufacturing process is akin to making a computer chip, so the technology is there and according to the advocates, the process is "scalable," = you can make them from one square mm to one square meter with no change in design, any more than you change making cloth for a handkerchief versus a king bed sheet. BUT, we all have questions about that. Glass lenses can be made larger, but major problems arise. Making a 50mm f1.4 lens is one thing, making a 500mm f1.4 is something else. However, I doubt that I will live long enough to see multiple K-mount metalenses, or even one.
01-08-2018, 12:45 PM   #11
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Metalenses do look pretty cool. But I get the sense that designing a nanopattern that creates a lens that is: 1) high resolution; 2) large aperture; 3) large image circle; and 4) invariant across wavelength is hard.

I'd also think that these lenses would be horribly sensitive to manufacturing process variations that might make the little nanostructures thicker, thinner, taller, shorter, wedgier, etc. As complicated as digital semiconductors seem, they are robust because the nature of the circuits automatically drives the system to 0 or 1. That is, every bit of the circuit might have noise and imperfection, but every bit of the circuits rounds to the nearest value. That's not the case with metalenses where every feature affects how every wavelength in every part of the image circle is refracted from every distance in the scene to every point on the sensor.
01-08-2018, 12:52 PM - 1 Like   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by photoptimist Quote
Metalenses do look pretty cool. But I get the sense that designing a nanopattern that creates a lens that is: 1) high resolution; 2) large aperture; 3) large image circle; and 4) invariant across wavelength is hard.

I'd also think that these lenses would be horribly sensitive to manufacturing process variations that might make the little nanostructures thicker, thinner, taller, shorter, wedgier, etc. As complicated as digital semiconductors seem, they are robust because the nature of the circuits automatically drives the system to 0 or 1. That is, every bit of the circuit might have noise and imperfection, but every bit of the circuits rounds to the nearest value. That's not the case with metalenses where every feature affects how every wavelength in every part of the image circle is refracted from every distance in the scene to every point on the sensor.
Pretty much agree with everything you've said, and have many additional quastions, but as noted, I'll maintain open-minded skepticism. My expectation is that these lenses, if ever applied to photography, will first appear in front of very small sensors, perhaps on cell phones. I'm very dubious about the simplicity of going from a metalens a few millimeters in size to one two or three centimeters in diameter. I think problems will arise that metalens advocates do not as yet anticipate.
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