Scientists from the Australian National University (ANU) have created the world’s thinnest lens, which could mean huge global advancements in medicine, science and technology.
Just 6.3 nanometers thick, the innovation is eight times thinner than the previous record holder (50 nanometers) and is one two-thousandth the thickness of a single human hair.
The tiny lens was made using molybdenum disulphide crystal, which comes from a class of materials known as chalcogenide glasses that have flexible electronic characteristics, making them popular for high-technology components. The 6.3 nanometer thick crystal (9 atomic layers) was peeled off from a larger piece of molybdenum disulphide using sticky tape. A focused ion beam was then used to shave off layers atom by atom until a dome-shaped 10-micron radius lens was left.
The ANU research team says the lens will be applied in numerous industries for many different purposes, including mimicking the compound eyes of insects for ‘supervision’, developing bendable computer and TV screens, as well as miniaturising cameras and phones.
“The capability of manipulating the flow of light in atomic scale opens an exciting avenue towards unprecedented miniaturization of optical components and the integration of advanced optical functionalities,” said Dr. Larry Lu from the ANU’s Research School of Engineering.
Read more here: Australian National University.