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Flat Lens Patent Signals New Era in Optics and Imaging

Date Announced: 10 Apr 2018

US firm claims key award for metamaterials-based optics.

BEDFORD, Mass.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--US patent 9,935,503 to Fractal Antenna Systems, Inc. signals a new era in the field of optics and imaging. The newly patented invention, a flat lens, uses fractal metamaterials to bend electromagnetic waves. This ‘source patent’, the very first issued patent on such flat lenses, opens new territory where metamaterial-based optics can be used and implemented.

The flat lens technology uses fractals, intricate patterns built up as repeating scaled shapes, to make more complex designs. With wide bandwidth, these ‘fractal atoms’ act as a metasurface (metamaterial surface)—a close packed resonator array--that accomplishes the wave bending previously requiring curved, thick lens shapes with differences in refractive indices. The fractals provide advantages in ease of manufacturing, bandwidth, spectral use, and field of view that are not attained by other metasurface approaches. Controlling and bending these waves with the fractals leads to magnification and other interesting options.

The firm has been developing fractal metasurface technology for more than 10 years, and the new patent is one of several that the firm has filed and pending on the flat lens-related technology, encompassing microwaves up to visible light and beyond. For example, LED’s equipped with the new flat lens technology may produce brighter, or lower power-usage lighting, and flat lens-assisted array layers of LED’s may produce 3D displays that can be viewed without special glasses or holograms.

The firm has seen the first commercial applications of the flat lens technology at microwaves, for telecom and surveillance. There, needs are immediate and customer-driven. Notes the firm’s CEO and inventor, Nathan Cohen: “At visible light, an obvious market, many players are entrenched in old tech and interested in deliberately delaying use of new tech by sitting on patents, a process called ‘patent napping’. That’s totally contrary to innovation. We’re focusing on end-users, with minimum delays. Then we gnaw away at larger markets. It’s a horse race where ponies win—under a disruptive banner.”

Cohen adds: “As an astrophysicist I am intimately familiar with the limitations of conventional optics. We are proud to be the recognized inventors of flat lens technology via patent issuance. Now, we will be giving eyes to things that previously were too cumbersome or expensive to provide improved views, especially on small and nano scales. Flat lenses are a revolution in the works and the realization."

Source: Fractal Antenna Systems


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