Researchers at the Institut de la Vision in Paris and the Institut de Ciencies Fotoniques (ICFO) at the Barcelona Institute of Science and Technology have developed a new, adjustable way to manipulate light without any mechanical movement. The technique, dubbed Smartlens, works by passing a current though a micron-scale resistor and the heat produced locally changes the optical properties of the transparent polymer plate holding the resistor. This microscale hot region is able to deviate light just as a mirage bends light passing through hot air to create illusions of distant lakes. The study, published in Nature Photonics, could lead to the development of low-cost dynamically tuneable devices that could find use in the optical systems used in mobile devices such as phones.
The researchers involved in this work are: Pascal Berto, Chang Liu and Gilles Tessier from the Institut de la Vision, and ICFO scientists Laurent Philippet, Johann Osmond, Adeel Afridi, Marc Montagut, and Bernat Molero, led by Romain Quidant.
Read the research paper: Tunable and free-form planar optics. Pascal Berto, Laurent Philippet, Johann Osmond, Chang François Liu, Adeel Afridi, Marc Montagut Marques, Bernat Molero Agudo, Gilles Tessier and Romain Quidant. Nature Photonics 10.1038/s41566-019-0486-3