LG is developing a novel ultra-thin lens technology that can also be applied to cellphone cameras, according to Korean media Dubbed the metalenses, the electr. do away with the bulky glass or plastic elements found on current phones, with the bulk of the camera islands protruding from the handsets.
The Metalens are basically an ultra-thin planar structure with nanoparticles scattered on it that have the ability to shape and focus light like normal lenses, but with the important caveat that the entire set can be made as thin as a micron.
LG says it is working with academic research institutions to develop a micro lens that is 1/10,000th the normal lens thickness and can be used wherever micro cameras are needed.
LG Innotek CEO added that the company is trying to “to implement an ultra-thin lens by replacing the refractive lens with a planar metasurface. For this purpose, the development of the preform (freeform) metasurface unit structure and the optimal design of the unit structure arrangement must be performed.”
Current phone camera lenses, especially those that have huge sensors underneath like those on the new one Xiaomi 12s Ultra have a tendency to stick out like sore thumbs. Even variable focus liquid lenses are simply a bag of liquid inside and still huge compared to the Metalens promises.
If LG manages to commercialize its Metalens research, we’ll have much thinner phone cameras that can sit flush with the back for a change and reduce the ever-increasing weight of our giant phones.
LG Innotek’s CTO presents his Metalens development
Samsung has confirmed that they are also working on Metalenses, so there could soon be some real competition in the field that can only benefit us mere mortals.