Light of different colors travels at different speeds in different materials and structures. This is why we see white light split into its constituent colors after refracting through a prism, a phenomenon called dispersion. An ordinary lens cannot focus light of different colors to a single spot due to dispersion. This means different colors are never in focus at the same time, and so an image formed by such a simple lens is inevitably blurred. Conventional imaging systems solve this problem by stacking multiple lenses, but this solution comes at the cost of increased complexity and weight.
Columbia Engineering researchers have created the first flat lens capable of correctly focusing a large range of colors of any polarization to the same focal spot without the need for any additional elements. Only a micron thick, their revolutionary "flat" lens is much thinner than a sheet of paper and offers performance comparable to top-of-the-line compound lens systems. The findings of the team, led by Nanfang Yu, associate professor ofappliedphysics , are outlined in a new study, published today by Light: Science & Applications.