Home Technology Harvard's metalens technology enters commercial development – Harvard Office of Technology Development

Harvard's metalens technology enters commercial development – Harvard Office of Technology Development

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Harvard's metalens technology enters commercial development - Harvard Office of Technology Development

The metalens technology exploits the interactions of light and matter
at the nanometer scale to achieve unprecedented control of the behavior
of light. Conventional optics refract, reflect, and polarize light as
it passes through the bulk of a material, while the Capasso Lab’s
innovations use minuscule patterns and structures at the surface to
redirect light at will. The resulting technology is a wafer-thin chip
not only capable of disrupting the field of digital imaging, but also
poised to enable new types of ultracompact devices for 3D sensing,
augmented reality, virtual reality, and more.

“It has been rewarding to see Metalenz successfully emerge as a
startup following a decade of research in my group that has ranged from
generalizing the centuries-old Snell’s law of refractive optics to the realization of flat lenses that outperform
conventional ones,” said Capasso, who is the Robert L. Wallace
Professor of Applied Physics and Vinton Hayes Senior Research Fellow in
Electrical Engineering at Harvard SEAS. Capasso is a co-founder of
Metalenz and a board member of the company.

Over the years, dozens of researchers in Capasso’s lab have
contributed to the innovations. In leaps and bounds, with a vision of
what might be possible, they developed a richer understanding of the
fundamental physics, demonstrated new methods of fabrication,
incorporated advanced materials, and computationally designed
metasurface architectures that produce the desired optical effects
across broadband wavelengths. Their work was supported largely by
federal funding from the U.S. Air Force Office of Scientific Research,
the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, and the National Science
Foundation, as well as by OTD’s Physical Sciences and Engineering Accelerator as the technology approached commercial readiness.

“The metalens platform has the potential to drive a revolution in
imaging and sensing, from the ubiquitous cameras in cell phones, cars,
and self-driving vehicles to AR/VR, and in the future to widespread use
in drones and CubeSats,” said Capasso. “I am grateful to Harvard OTD for
encouraging and supporting, all along, the creation of Metalenz.”

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