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Metamaterial camera needs no lens, could herald cheaper imaging tech

Jamie Rigg, @jmerigg
January 19, 2013
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Metamaterials are proving to be quite useful for toying with the electromagnetic spectrum, whether for technology previously thought to be the stuff of science fiction, or for boring real-world applications. Engineers at Duke University have come up something that falls more into the latter category: a metamaterial imaging sensor that doesn't require a lens to generate a picture. The sensor is a flexible copper-plated sheet patterned with small squares that capture various light frequencies all at once, functioning like one big aperture. Add a few circuits with a pinch of software and the sensor-only camera can produce up to ten images per second, but the catch is Duke's only works at microwave frequencies. Microwave imaging is used plenty, however, and due to its flexibility and lack of moving parts, the sensor could be used to build better integrated, cheaper airport scanners and vehicle collision avoidance technology -- making you safer however you choose to travel. Unless you take the train. Then you're on your own.

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