Beam shaping is an important function in optics, and is commonly involved in a variety of optical devices and systems employed in imaging, lithography, patterning, spectroscopy, communications, information technology, and healthcare.
This invention deals with a new class of optics that performs beam-shaping functions in a fashion distinctly different from conventional optics. In the new device design, an incident light transmits through an array of nanoslit formed in a metal film. Each slit is designed to provide proper delay in optical propagation such that the transmitted light bends or becomes focused or collimated, similar to the case of glass-based optical lenses. The discrete distribution of these nanoaperatures across a metallic lens is contrasted to the continuous nature of a conventional glass lens, analogous to digital versus analog. The optical wavefronts at the exit surface can be designed into arbitrary profiles by individual and independent control of phases at each nanoaperture.
1) Ultra-small lenses for use in telecommunications, information processing, imaging, and microscopy areas
2) Next generation DVD or Blu-ray discs
1) Much smaller than conventional glass microlenses without being affected by the edge distortion effect.
2) Ability to build a dense array of lenses with greater flexibility in design.
3) Lens is scalable in a broad range, down to a wavelength or subwavelength scale (1 micrometer or less).
4) Spot size is much smaller than glass optics
5) Data storage density increases with decreasing spot size
Stage of Development
*Proof of concept completed, prototype available