Engineers from the University of Utah in the United States have created a new camera lens that is lighter and thinner than traditional devices, offering the potential for flatter and more compact mobile phones.
The lens also works with thermal imaging, meaning it can be used in the dark, allowing it to have applications in the military or on drones.
Rather than using the traditional curved surface of a lens, the University of Utah innovation bends light using a multitude of microstructures, all of which direct the waves towards a single sensor.
“They’re not a lens by themselves but all working together to act as a lens,” said Electrical and Computer Engineering Associate Professor Rajesh Menon.
“Our lens is a hundred times lighter and a thousand times thinner, but the performance can be as good as conventional lenses.”
Because the lens can be made out of plastic rather than glass, it is potentially cheaper to manufacture, and its thickness is measured in microns rather than millimetres.