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  • MEMS-based reconfigurable hyper lens
    Oct 23, 2018

    According to James Consulting, researchers at the Argonne National Laboratory and Harvard University published a paper entitled "Dynamic metasurface lens based on MEMS technology" in the journal APL Photonics. The paper details the process by which researchers create ultra-thin reconfigurable lenses by transferring custom-designed supersurfaces onto a 2D-scan MEMS platform.

    The artificial sub-wavelength metal and/or dielectric mode allows the supersurface to have special optical properties that can be tuned by arranging the nano-optical elements in a 2D plane to simulate the phase distribution of a conventional bulk optical lens.

    In this paper, the researchers point out that although supersurface studies are not new, they are often static. Therefore, the installation of super-surfaces on electrostatically driven MEMS platforms such as 2D scanners opens up new applications, and currently these fields are often using heavier conventional lenses.


    US researchers implement MEMS-based reconfigurable hyperlens

    The figure is a scanning electron microscope image of the lens produced in this study, showing the disk-shaped metasurface unit cells

    Researchers have begun to design a plasma lens that, like a cylindrical lens, produces a line focus when illuminated by monochromatic mid-infrared light (about 4.6 μm wavelength). The polarization independent design unit cells here consist of disc-shaped 50 nm thick gold resonators grown on a 400 nm thick silicon dioxide layer on top of a 200 nm thick gold film. By changing the radius of the disk on the metamaterial, which changes the phase of the reflected light, the researchers were able to create a hyperbolic phase distribution by carefully selecting the spatial distribution of sub-wavelength diameters on the planar lens. A 0.8 x 0.8 mm hyperlens fabricated on a silicon-on-insulator (SOI) wafer using standard photolithography technology can focus incident light onto the lens surface at an angle of θ = 45° at a focal length of 5 mm.

    Next, to achieve dynamic light control, the researchers stripped the superlens and transferred it to a 2D MEMS scanner that controlled the lens to dynamically scan between ±9° along two orthogonal axes. This is an application that can be used to compensate for off-axis incident light to correct for coma aberrations.

    The article points out that for low angular displacement, the integrated lens-on-MEMS system does not affect the mechanical properties of the MEMS actuator and maintains the focused beam profile and the measured full width at half maximum (FWHM).

    The proof-of-concept MEMS super-lens (metalens-on-a-MEMS) integration extends to the visible portion of the electromagnetic spectrum and other spectral components for MEMS-based microscope systems, holographic and projection imaging, Wide range of applications including lidar scanning or laser printing.

    US researchers implement MEMS-based reconfigurable hyperlens


    The picture shows a circular super-surface-based planar lens integrated on a MEMS scanner for high-speed dynamic control and precise wavefront spatial processing (Source: Argonne National Laboratory, USA)

    But the researchers also imagine that by integrating such thousands of superlenses into large dynamic reconfigurable MEMS micromirrors, while performing separate 2D control of each superlens, a unique optical control and A new, reconfigurable, fast digital spatial modulator (Spatial Light Modulator) with operational capabilities. Researchers even hope to reconfigure the hyperlens itself by integrating a single metasurface unit cell into a more complex cantilever-based MEMS design.