While traditional cameras use curved glass or plastic lenses to focus light rays, the new optical system relies on a technology called a meta-surface that can be produced like a computer chip. The meta-surface, which is only half a millimeter wide, has 1.6 million cylindrical columns or pegs, each about the size of a human immunodeficiency virus (HIV).
Despite its size, the camera is still capable of capture color images that match the half-million-magnification lenses of conventional composite cameras.
Combined with computer processing, the system may allow minimally invasive endoscopy with medical robots or even flat surfaces. can be converted into a functional camera. Each of the 1.6 million pegs has a unique geometry. They work like an optical antenna.
In a full-color meta-surface camera, simply changing the design of each knob will allow the entire optical wavefront to be formed correctly, and the system will be able to produce the best quality images and to produce the widest field of vision
A key innovation in the creation of the camera was the integrated design of the optical interface and the development of signal processing algorithms to generate the image. “This increased the camera’s performance under natural light conditions, unlike previous metasurface cameras, which required the laboratory’s clear laser light or other ideal conditions to produce high-quality images,” said Felix Heide, lead author of the study at Princeton University.
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