According to scientists, the camera’s microscopic metalens can capture more than 120 degrees of surroundings.
By gathering a vast amount of visual information, wide-angle photography produces stunning, high-quality photos.
However, in order to see items that would otherwise be out of frame, massive and heavy lenses are usually required.
Researchers in China have now created a 0.3-centimeter (0.1-inch) thick camera using metamaterials, which are materials that have been made to have unique properties.
“To construct an extremely compact wide-angle camera, we employed an array of metalenses that each capture particular elements of the wide-angle picture,” stated Nanjing University’s Professor Tao Li.
“After that, the photos are stitched together to generate a wide-angle image with no loss of image quality.”
Metamaterial lenses have been tested in the past, however they often have poor image quality and other problems.
To get around this, the researchers employed a variety of metalenses, each of which was designed to focus on a different angle of illumination.
This way, each lens captures part of the wide-angle object or scene before they are stitched together with a computer to create the full image.
Professor Li added: “Thanks to the flexible design of the metasurfaces, the focusing and imaging performance of each lens can be optimized independently.
“This gives rise to a high-quality final wide-angle image after a stitching process.
“What’s more, the array can be manufactured using just one layer of material, which helps keep cost down.”
The researchers created a planar camera, which measures approximately 1cm by 1cm by 0.3cm, to test their new lens.
The words “Nanjing University” were projected onto a curved screen that was 15 centimeters (5.9 inches) away from the gadget using two projectors.
The camera created an image with a viewing angle of more than 120 degrees that clearly revealed every letter.
According to the researchers, this was three times larger than photos taken with a standard metalens.
They’re presently working on improving the image quality with more metalens research.
The array might be mass-produced once it’s completed, lowering the cost of each device.
The findings were published in the journal Optica.