developed a way to build a camera lens This avoids the typical spherical curve of ultra-wide-angle glass and at the same time achieves real optical fish-eye distortion. The fisheye lens is relatively specialized and produces images that can cover an area of up to 180 degrees or more. However, it can be very expensive to manufacture. Typically these are heavy, large lenses that aren̵
This is the first time a flat lens has provided clear 180 degree images that cover true panoramic spread. The engineers were able to do it by patterning a thin glass wafer on one side with microscopic three-dimensional structures that were very precisely positioned to scatter incoming light exactly as a curved piece of glass would.
The version created by the researchers in this case is actually designed to work specifically with the infrared portion of the light spectrum. However, you could also customize the design to work with visible light. Whether IR or visible light, there are a number of possible uses for this technology as taking a 180 degree panorama is useful not only in some types of photography, but also in practical applications such as medical imaging and computer vision applications where the range is large is important for the interpretation of image data.
This design is just one example of so-called “metalens” lenses – lenses that use microscopic features to change their optical properties in ways that would traditionally have been achieved by changing the macro design – like building a lens with one facing out directed curve. For example, or stacking several pieces of glass with different curvatures to achieve a desired field of view.
What’s unusual here is that the ability to get a clear, detailed, and accurate 180 degree panoramic image with a perfectly flat metal design surprised even the engineers who worked on the project. It is definitely an advancement in science that goes beyond what is believed to be the state of the art by many.