This paper-thin lens might soon be seen on your smartphone or camera

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One thing that can annoy anyone is a bulky smartphone or a camera. Although our gadgets have lost considerable weight over the years, yet there is room for improvement. What if we told you a paper-thin camera lens can replace today's bulky lenses, in return making the devices slimmer? All thanks to the engineers at the University of Utah, this might soon be a reality!

Prototype of the paper-thin lens that might soon be seen on your smartphone or camera

The engineers have developed a method of creating flat and thin optical lenses which can bend light to a single point in space. This is how the traditional camera lenses work, but with all their bulks and curves. Not anymore!

As you are well aware, light is composed of several colors. Also, if you are familiar with the concept of refraction (remember the under-water bent pencil school experiment?), you might know that all those components need to pass through the lens and converge on a single point on the camera sensor in order to capture a photograph. But since each color has different properties and hence, bends differently, various lenses of several curvatures were required to converge all of them to a single point. But not anymore!

Using the principle of diffraction, the engineers have developed a super-achromatic lens ten times thinner than the width of a human hair! The light (and its colored components) interacts with the micro-structures present in the lens, and bends, finally converging at a single point. Transparent materials like glass or plastic are the major material candidates with which this lens can be created.

This thin lens is still under prototyping, and we expect to see its commercial applications in the coming years.


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