Flat Optics Unifies Semiconductor and Optical Technology: From Metalenses to Cameras and Smart Sensors

Federico Capasso

(Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Science)

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Date: June 8, 2022


Sub-wavelength spaced arrays of nanostructures, known as metasurfaces, provide a new basis for recasting optical components into thin planar elements, easy to optically align and control aberrations, leading to a major reduction in system complexity and footprint as well as the introduction of new optical functions. The planarity of flat optics leads to the unification of semiconductor manufacturing and lens making, where the planar technology to manufacture chips will be used for CMOS compatible metasurface based optical components for high volume markets like cell phones, AR-VR and advance depth and polarization sensing modalities.

Further Information:

Federico Capasso is the Robert Wallace Professor of Applied Physics at Harvard University, which he joined in 2003 after 27 years at Bell Labs where his career advanced from postdoctoral fellow to Vice President for Physical Research. He has made contributions to optics and photonics, nanoscience, materials science, including the bandgap engineering technique leading to his invention of the quantum cascade laser, MEMS based on the Casimir effect and the first measurement of the repulsive Casimir force, research on metasurfaces including the generalized laws of refraction and reflection, “flat optics” such a high performance metalenses and Matrix Fourier optics used to demonstrate single shot ultracompact polarization sensitive cameras. He is a board member of Metalenz (https://www.metalenz.com/), which he cofounded in 2016 and is focused on bringing to market metalenses and cameras for high volume markets.
His awards include the Yves Medal of Optica (formerly Optical Society), the Balzan Prize in Applied Photonics, the King Faisal Prize, the IEEE Edison Medal, the American Physical Society Arthur Schawlow Prize in Laser Science, the AAAS Rumford Prize, the Enrico Fermi Prize, the European Physical Society Quantum Electronics Prize, the Wetherill Medal of the Franklin Institute, the Materials Research Society Medal, the Jan Czochralski Award for lifetime achievements in Materials Science, the Rob Wood Prize of Optica. He is a member of the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering, the Academia Europaeaa fellow of the National Academy of Inventors, and a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences (AAAS). He holds honorary doctorates from Lund University and Diderot University.


Created: Sunday, June 12th, 2022