Researchers from Cornell University’s School of Applied Physics and Engineering Physics and Samsung Institute of Technology have created the first metamaterial lens that can be focused using tension rather than mechanically moving its components.
Metal lenses are flat arrays of nanoantennas or resonators less than a micron thick: they act as focusing devices.
A new development from Samsung and Cornell University researchers involved the fusion of a metal element and liquid crystal technology was used to adapt the local phase response of the metal element. This allowed the researchers to manually change the focus of the metallic elements by altering the voltage applied to the device.
This combination worked as we hoped and predicted. Our idea led to the creation of an ultra-thin, electrically reconfigurable lens, and the overall focal length shifted by 20%.
Samsung researchers hope to develop technology for use in augmented reality glasses. The authors also see in the future many opportunities for using the development: replacing optical lenses on satellites, spacecraft, unmanned aerial vehicles, night vision goggles, endoscopes and other applications where space and weight need to be saved.