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Fractal's Metamaterial-Based Flat Lens to Receive Patent

Date Announced: 01 Mar 2018

Applications in infrared and visible spectral regions envisaged in the longer term.

BEDFORD, Mass.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Fractal Antenna Systems, Inc. (FRACTAL) today announced upcoming issuance of its patent on “flat lens” technology, creating new paths for imaging and control of microwaves, infrared, and visible light. The breakthrough is enabled by the firm’s proprietary fractal and metamaterial technology.

For more than two decades, FRACTAL has explored, developed, and invented fractal-based electromagnetic technology, and used close-packed fractal resonators/fractal antennas for electromagnetic waves, with a broad and or multiband advantage. Fractals have ‘self-similar’ structure on a variety of size scales. Close-packing makes this a metamaterial, with fractals producing a unique composite, a ‘fractal metamaterial’ that enables wave bending and control in ways previously not attained.

As an example, FRACTAL successfully employed fractal metamaterials to produce the world’s first invisibility cloak, detailed it in peer-reviewed publication, and acquired the ‘source’ patents. Furthermore, the firm demonstrated cloaking at numerous technical conferences, and, in 2012, with microwaves, cloaked a person—the realization of the mythical invisible man.

The new lens technology is a spin-off application of the firm’s invisibility cloak research, dating over a decade ago. Here, fractal metamaterials are configured as magnifiers and wave guides, producing super-thin flat lenses, bendable conformal lenses, and even edge-oriented lenses, with broad bandwidths. Conventional optics uses shaped, rigid, thick media, such as glass, with much larger form factors and weight.

A 17th century astronomer, Christiaan Huygens, provided the inspiration for the new lens technology. Huygens looked at waves as a superposition of combined ‘wavelets’, like dropping several pebbles in a pond simultaneously to form an overall ripple. In electromagnetic waves, conventional resonators are much too large and/or interact deleteriously with each other when closely spaced, and this prevents using the full advantages of ‘Huygens’ Principle’ as a lens.

The new flat lens technology breakthrough was enabled by fractals. Geometrically gorgeous, the art-like fractals act as the tiny resonators envisioned by Huygens to make the ensemble of wavelets. They allow Huygens’ Principle to be realized in fact, with unprecedented control and shaping of the overall wave, at wide bandwidths, with multiple layers if desired.

The flat lens technology was first publicly demonstrated with microwaves at the Radio Club of America, called “the world’s oldest and most prestigious wireless organization”, in the Fall of 2017, where it received the top prize for its technical innovation presentation.

The technology additionally has far-reaching applications in visible light and infrared, among other wavelengths, with subsequent applications in a number of diverse industries.

The new patent is the first of several, issued and pending patents from the firm on the new technology. Notes inventor, astrophysicist, and CEO Nathan Cohen: ”We have patiently waited for patent issuance on our flat lens technology and are delighted to see Huygens’ inspiration, now realized by us in a practical way.”

Flat lens technology is now available, with first applications at RF and microwaves. FRACTAL has secured several customers, including a global OEM, in the short time since making the technology public. Adds Cohen: “We are successfully taking the disruptive path, growing niche vertical markets as the benefits thus become apparent and overwhelming. We see the entire electromagnetic spectrum as horizontal markets for the patented technology and will put the inspiration of Huygens into every home, office, building, and vehicle.”

Source: Fractal Antenna Systems


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