Meta Optical Elements (MOE) - Metalenses

NIL Technology provides metalens solutions, from design to mass production, under one roof.

With metalenses, or meta optical elements, we develop unique solutions that improve the efficiency and performance of optical applications whilst reducing the complexity and number of lens elements.

Read our press release from 31 August 2021 on mass production of NIR metalenses here:

Fresnel metalenses

Dark field optical microscopy demonstrating lensing effect for a large range of wavelengths. The cover image shows a fresnel metalens, demonstrating pillars down to sub 100 nm diameters with perfect vertical sidewall

Meta Optical Elements made by NILT

Meta optical elements (MOEs) (metalenses) are a radical new flat lens technology that will disrupt optics used for sensing and imaging in consumer electronics, autonomous vehicles, AR/MR displays, and more.

NIL Technology has a full process chain under one roof for design, mastering, prototyping, testing and characterization, and manufacturing capabilities of meta optical elements.

We provide custom-made solutions, ranging from pure metalens- to hybrid solutions. We can characterize metasurfaces for visible and IR applications up to ~2000 nm. Other beam shaping functions, such as diffusers and fan-out gratings, can also be realized with metasurfaces.

NIL Technology has profound and proven experience designing and developing advanced optics by manufacturing micro-and nano-patterned surface relief structures and more than 50 years of experience of cumulative experience in thermal and UV NIL.

We leverage our extensive experience as a leader in nanostructured mastering and fast prototyping turnaround to deliver mass production metalens solutions.

Flat NIR metalenses

NILT is on a mission to bring revolutionary changes to smartphone cameras by significantly reducing the size and complexity of camera lens systems.

The first demonstration is a 940 nm near-infrared (NIR) wavelength imaging lens with a single metasurface, used for 3D sensing and face recognition in smartphones and driver-monitoring in automobiles.

The single metalens, as we name 1M, is groundbreaking in its form, performance, compactness, and efficiency. It validates the uniqueness of our meta optical elements (MOEs) over traditional refractive lenses.

  • Compactness. MOEs are flatter, thinner, and lighter than refractive lenses, having a lens simplicity not demonstrated before.
  • Superior. MOE lenses have significantly better imaging quality with a wide field of view, low F-number, high MTF, and high relative illumination, all at a low total track length.
  • Cost-efficiency. Assembly costs and integration complexity will be lower.
  • Robustness. Silicon on glass-substrate makes for strong, thermally stable lenses.

Read our press release from 31 August 2021 to learn more about our 1M capabilities. 

Flat NIR metalens by NIL Technology

Image from a near Infrared imaging system using a single meta optical element surface (1M MOE) designed for 940 nm wavelength. The demonstrated NILT image has excellent resolution for NIR imaging, all the way to the edge, and is comparable to images captured with a multi-element refractive lens.

Combining the best to get the unique solutions

NILT takes optical applications to a new level of performance, efficiency, and compactness by combining refractive, diffractive, and meta optics. The result is optical design solutions for next-generation sensing and imaging applications.

Mass production is done by nanoimprint (NIL) that takes advantage of the high-resolution and precision offered by electron beam lithography.

What are metalenses?

In 2019, World Economic Forum named metalenses as one of the top 10 emerging technologies. Not without reason. Metalenses have powerful capabilities beyond traditional optical lenses with flat surfaces, reduced thickness, and improved quality across all optical component use cases.

Metalenses are a flat lens technology made by optical components that use metasurfaces to focus light. They can be used in optical applications that take advantage of the flat surface and reduced thickness, compared to classic, curved refractive lenses mainly used in optical devices today.

Meta optical elements allow further miniaturization in sensors and different imaging devices. Meta optical elements by NILT enable more cost-effective lens systems and lower integration complexity.

Meta-atoms and metasurfaces

Meta optical elements utilize the phase change induced locally on a light wave by a small nano-sized feature. Nanostructures, often called meta-atoms, are often pillars of various cross-sections and, in many cases, cylindrical. The induced phase change depends on the size and geometry of the meta-atoms. By properly selecting and distributing meta-atoms over a surface, the wavefront of an incoming light wave can be shaped to almost any desired form. In this way, the light propagating away from the metasurface can be controlled accurately.

Metasurfaces are intrinsically wavelength-dependent, making them best suited for monochromatic applications, although great efforts are invested in the research community and at NILT to improve the broadband behavior.

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