A team of physicists at the Australian National University (ANU) believe they are on the verge of making a reality of smartphone cameras so tiny they are near invisible, yet able to produce images in incredible detail and in three dimensions. .
The scientists have been able to create high-quality holographic images using a material they invented made from millions of tiny silicon pillars, each one 500 times thinner than a human hair.
Lead researcher on the project Sergey Kruk, said each pillar captured all the detail of light directed at it and could then reproduce it in 3D.
“If you compare that to conventional pictures or computer monitors, those produce only a portion of the information of light, basically just the intensity of light and in two dimensions only,” Dr Kruk said.
“Conventional optical components like lenses and prisms, are bulky and heavyweight,” Dr Kruk said.
“But with our new material we can create components with the same functionality but that would be essentially flat and lightweight.”
He said he believed the possibilities could be endless.
“Starting from further shrinking down the sizes of cameras in consumer smart phones and all the way up to space technologies by reducing the size and weight of complex optical systems for satellites,” Dr Kruk said.
The team’s achievements have been published in the science journal Optica and was partly done in collaboration with the Oak Ridge National Laboratory in the United Sates and Nanjing University in China.