The new invention makes camera phones thousands of times thinner

Researchers at the University of Utah have developed an ultra-thin and lightweight lens thousands of times lighter than conventional lenses, which can be used to produce lighter cameras for drones and cameras for smartphone.

The wave of new smartphones coming to market comes with incredible cameras when it comes to producing brilliant photos. The only complaint is the thick camera lens on the back, which looks like ugly bumps on a sheet of glass.

But the University of Utah electrical and computer engineering researchers developed a new type of optical lens that is much thinner and lighter than conventional camera lenses, but still produces sharp night images. . This brings promising benefits for smartphones, which can flatten unsightly "cameras" .

Picture 1 of The new invention makes camera phones thousands of times thinner
A flat lens developed by researchers at the University of Utah is much thinner and lighter than conventional lenses.

The team's work is described in a new research paper in the latest Proceedings of the US National Academy of Sciences. While conventional lenses for smartphone cameras are a few millimeters thick, the new lenses are only a few microns thick, or thousands of times thinner than conventional lenses, says Associate Professor of Electrical Engineering and Computer Rajesh Menon. said.

"Our lenses are hundreds of times lighter and thousands of times thinner, but the performance can be as good as regular lenses," he said.

A conventional curved lens takes light out of an object and bends it before reaching the camera sensor, forming a digital image. But this new lens has many micro structures, each bending the light in the right direction of the sensor. The team has developed a fabrication process with a new polymer along with algorithms that can calculate the geometry of these microstructures.

"You can think of these micro structures as very small pixels of the lens," Menon explained. "It's not a lens but all the details work together to act as a lens." glasses".

Although the ultimate goal of the research is to be able to create smartphone cameras that don't protrude, the research could also provide technology that allows lighter, longer-lasting military drones. more for night missions, mapping wildfires or finding victims of natural disasters. And soldiers in the field can carry much lighter night vision cameras for longer periods.

Mr. Menon said that when mass produced, the new lenses could be cheaper because the design allows them to make them out of plastic instead of glass.

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