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The drive to miniaturize optical systems has led to the design of many new devices, from Fresnel lenses to metamaterial wave-plates. However, most optical systems still contain empty space between components – think of the empty barrel between the lenses of a telescope or the camera bump on the back of a smartphone – that could be further reduced. Now, researchers in Canada have tackled this issue and designed three different “spaceplates” that effectively compress space, reducing the size of optical devices and paving the way towards extremely compact optical systems.

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