Researchers from Princeton University and the University of Washington have developed a microscopic imaging system, about the size of a grain of salt, about 0.5mm wide. It is designed on an extremely thin metasurface with 1.6 million pillars and can act as a camera sensor.
Each column acts as an optical antenna, capturing light to shape the optical wavefront, and then using AI algorithms to deliver high-quality images in full color.
Traditional cameras use complex glass and plastic lenses that can bend light onto the sensor to send signals electronically. The new solution is based on the supersurface, which is a thin film with individually miniaturized elements developed to refract light in any desired direction. Combined with the algorithm, this allows it to capture full-color images instead of the blurry, distorted images with the limited field of view of internal boiling lasers.
The main application of this new type of camera is mainly in the medical field, helping doctors to see the details of the inside of the human body more accurately.
Supersurfaces are based on silicon nitride, which makes them quickly and at a lower cost than conventional camera lenses. Experts say this breakthrough will open the door to completely different ways of making devices in the future.