Phone Cameras Could Get as Sharp as DSLRs, by Bending Laws of Nature

A new grain-of-sand-sized lens could one day compete with those enormous DSLR lenses to create sharp pictures.

A group of scientists at Harvard University debuted their new “metalens” in Science last week, and hope it will have applications in all sorts of imaging, from photography to other optics like microscopes and telescopes. These lenses aren’t just smaller, measuring in at just 2 millimeters in diameter, but potentially much cheaper than the lenses the industry uses today.

“We wanted to replace bulky optics,” Mohammadreza Khorasaninejad, first author on the study, told Popular Science. “We can reduce the cost to 2 or 3 orders of magnitude.”

This could drop the price of top-tier lenses from $5000 to potentially $5 dollars per lens.

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