Researchers at Swinburne University have developed a new lens that could revolutionise much of the technology we use every day.
PhD student at Swinburne’s Centre for Micro-Photonics, Xiaorui Zheng, has created the lens using graphene oxide — a variation of the super-strong, atom-thick carbon material, graphene. The research team developed a three-dimensional printer that could quickly and cheaply produce the lens using a sprayable graphene oxide solution. Lasers were used to precisely pattern the surface, creating three concentric rings of reduced graphene oxide, which enabled its extraordinary focus.
The result is a very strong and flexible flat optical lens, 300 times thinner than a sheet of paper and weighing a microgram. At the same time, it has a precise and adjustable three-dimensional focus that allows a detailed view of objects as small as 200 nanometres long at wavelengths ranging from visible to near infrared.
The new technology has the potential to reduce the size and weight of mobile phones in which cameras are currently dependent on thick and heavy lenses. If that happens, it will mean that new phone cameras could focus light near the infrared spectrum, allowing thermo-imaging and possible remote medical diagnosis.
Over the long term, the greatest impact of the technology will be its ability to increase the efficiency of the photonic chip for use in supercomputers and superfast broadband distribution, significantly reducing energy consumption.
Read more here: Swinburne University.