The resolution of sensors is improving so quickly that I am close to the indifference point for further advances due to the resolution limits of my glass as well as diffraction limits, and that has me contemplating the physics of refraction and what the next leaps in optical engineering might be.
#2. "RE: Time for a leap in optical engineering" In response to Reply # 1 Tue 26-Feb-13 08:33 PM by Chris Platt
I'm presuming there wouldn't be any chromatic aberration once they develop the broadband metasurface - the collection of nanoantennas individually tuned and angled to create a phase shift in white light.
Chromatic aberration occurs because the index of refraction of glass varies with frequency, causing dispersion, so different frequencies don't converge at the same point. In glass lenses that is corrected by adding another glass element with a different index of refraction to correct the dispersion. If I'm understanding the concept properly, the nanoantennas in the metasurface would be individually tuned to change the direction of the light on a nanoscale. It wouldn't be passing through a material with a variable index of refraction, so chromatic aberration would be avoided in the same way that other optical aberrations are avoided.
Zoom? Good question. Since the tuning in these flat lenses seems to be fixed, perhaps two such flat lenses could interact to achieve a zoom capability. Ideally though, you are leaping ahead to the other topic; tuning refraction in a two dimensional quantum metamaterial with a magnetic flux, so one flat lens could achieve a variable level of refraction ability. But once I get past the correct spelling of "quantum" I've pretty much exhausted my competence on the subject.
#3. "RE: Time for a leap in optical engineering" In response to Reply # 2
Maybe zooming would be a relation of the distance of the flat lens to the sensor?
Another question would be in the area of depth of field control. Since the lens apparently focuses everything it "sees" the the f-stop wouldn't make a difference so creating that nice bokeh wouldn't be possible? Or, perhaps manipulation of the f-stop controls the zoom?