Ultracompact Camera
Image: Princeton University

Researchers at Princeton University and the University of Washington have developed an ultracompact camera the size of a coarse grain of salt. The new system can produce crisp, full-color images on par with a conventional compound camera lens 500,000 times larger in volume. The new optical system relies on a technology called a metasurface, which can be produced much like a computer chip. Just half a millimeter wide, the metasurface is studded with 1.6 million cylindrical posts. With the help of machine learning-based algorithms, the posts’ interactions with light combine to produce the highest-quality images and widest field of view for a full-color metasurface camera developed to date.

Princeton University