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Adaptive metalens key to an artificial eye

Inspired by the human eye, researchers have developed an adaptive metalens that is essentially a flat, electronically controlled artificial eye. The adaptive metalens simultaneously controls three of the major contributors to blurry images: focus, astigmatism and image shift. To build the artificial eye, the researchers first needed to scale-up the metalens. Prior metalenses were about the size of a single piece of glitter. They focus light and eliminate spherical aberrations through a dense pattern of nanostructures, each smaller than a wavelength of light. To solve this problem, the researchers developed a new algorithm to shrink the file size to make the metalens compatible with the technology currently used to fabricate integrated circuits. Next, the researchers needed to adhere the large metalens to an artificial muscle without compromising its ability to focus light. In the human eye, the lens is surrounded by ciliary muscle, which stretches or compresses the lens, changing its shape to adjust its focal length. The researchers aim to further improve the functionality of the lens and decrease the voltage required to control it.

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