Metalenz metasurfaces are now on the market. A revolutionary new approach to electronic devices
STworld leader in semiconductors, e Metalenzthe first company to market elements of meta-optics, launch time-of-flight sensors VL53L8 (dToF), the highly anticipated market debut of meta-optical devices developed through their partnership.
There Metalenz meta-optic technologyborn as a startup at Harvard, can replace existing complex and multi-element lenses and provide additional functionality with a single element in meta-optics embedded in ST’s Time-of-Flight (ToF) modulesa leading company in the supply of 3D sensing modules.
The new sensor incorporates revolutionary new metasurface lens technology, a more powerful and efficient laser, and improved on-chip processing capability. The result is a ToF module that delivers flow rate performance doubled – up to 4 m in all internal areas – while halving energy consumption compared to the previous generation (when operating under normal conditions).
“ST’s ToF technology has been a hit a huge commercial successand, now available in over 200 smartphone models and 100 PCs, projectors and robotic products. The new FlightSense sensor VL53L8 takes performance and energy efficiency to new levels, ”he explains Eric AussedatExecutive Vice President and General Manager of ST’s Imaging Subgroup.
“Our latest generation flow sensor represents a game changer for the optical industry. With its innovative technology ofmetasurface target and thelow energy consumption architecturereduces the battery load, extends the range of the camera’s autofocus And improves the understanding of the scene“.
A ready-to-use metasurface
The introduction of Metalenz technology in these modules offers advantages in terms of performance, power, size and cost to a multitude of daily, automotive and industrial applications. It is the first time that the technology of the metasurface becomes accessible to the market for everyday devices.
Unlike traditional shaped and curved lenses, Metalenz’s new optical lenses are completely planar. For the first time, planar metasurface optical technology is produced on silicon wafer in the same ST semiconductor front-end fabs that make electronic components.
The elements in meta-optics are able to collect more light, provide more functions in a single layer and enable new forms of detection in smartphones and other devices, taking up less space. Metalenz’s flat lens technology will replace some optical elements found in ST’s FlightSense ToF modules, used in smartphones, drones, robots and vehicles.
“We have come to this point after more than a decade of research. The placing on the market of our meta-optic technology represents the first case of a commercially available metasurface “, says Rob Devlinco-founder and CEO of Metalenz.
“ST’s technology, manufacturing experience and global reach allow us to have a impact on millions of consumers. This first application of our technology platform is the result of a series of victories. We are now designing entire systems focusing on its innovative features. Our meta-optical technology promises to create exciting new markets and new mobile sensing capabilities at a competitive price“.
Calculate distances with photonic precision
ST is a multinational innovation leader in ToF sensing technology that uses the speed of light for accurately calculate distances. The sensor accurately measures the time it takes for a photon, traveling at 299.792.458 meters / sec, to reach a certain surface.
Since its first ToF sensor, ST and its technology have helped revolutionize autofocus in smartphone cameras and, with the presence detection and the gesture recognitionthey have improved security and energy efficiency in mobile and IT applications.
More quality, more efficiency, at half the price
Perfectly complementing ST’s production capacity and its ToF technology, the revolutionary optical functionality of Metalenz metasurfaces represents a significant step forward in terms of energy efficiency, optical performance and module size optimizationimportant benefits in the consumer, industrial and automotive markets, ”says Aussedat.
“Initially aimed at applications using near infrared wavelengths, particularly for 3D sensing, the products we are introducing with Metalenz are perfectly suited for functions such as face authentication, camera assist, consumer LIDAR and augmented or virtual reality applications where a precise depth mapping is required “.
The partnership between Metalenz and ST Manufacturing Technology brings the incredible closer accuracy and precision of the electronic chip industry to the realization of extremely precise and repeatable meta-optics tools.
We are facing a new world of lenses that do not sacrifice a superfine quality to the need for large-scale economic production.
The post Phones, cameras, sensors: metasurfaces are the next revolution first appeared on Technology Review Italia.
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