French researchers have developed a novel spiral-shaped lens designed to maintain clear focus at different distances amidst varying light conditions. Published in the journal Optica, the research heralds a potential revolution in ophthalmology and imaging technology.
The lens, developed by experts from the Photonics, Numerical and Nanosciences Laboratory (LP2N), a collaborative effort between the Institut d'Optique Graduate School, the University of Bordeaux, and the CNRS in France, promises to overcome the limitations of existing multifocal lenses. Unlike traditional progressive lenses prone to distortions, this innovative spiral lens boasts a unique design that creates multiple points of focus akin to having numerous lenses in one.
Lead researcher Bertrand Simon highlighted the lens's versatility, stating, "Unlike existing multifocal lenses, our lens performs well under a wide range of light conditions and maintains multifocality regardless of the size of the pupil." Simon emphasized the potential impact on individuals with age-related farsightedness, suggesting the lens could offer consistently clear vision, potentially revolutionizing ophthalmology.
Moreover, the lens's simplicity holds promise for compact imaging systems, according to Mr. Simon. "In addition to ophthalmology applications, the simple design of this lens could greatly benefit compact imaging systems," he explained. "It would streamline the design and function of these systems while also offering a way to accomplish imaging at various depths without additional optical elements."
The researchers utilized advanced digital machining to craft the lens's intricate spiral design with utmost precision. Validating its efficacy, they employed it to image a digital 'E,' akin to optometrist light-up boards, with consistent image quality across various aperture sizes. Volunteers testing the lens reported notable improvements in visual acuity across different distances and lighting conditions.
Moving forward, the researchers aim to delve deeper into the lens's unique optical vortices and conduct systematic trials to comprehensively establish its real-world performance. They also envision potential applications in prescription eyeglasses, potentially offering users clear vision across multiple distances.
L. Galinier, P. Renaud-Goud, J. Brusau, L. Kergadallan, J. Augereau, B. Simon, “Spiral diopter: Freeform lenses with enhanced multifocal behavior,” Optica. 11, 238-244 (2024). DOI: 10.1364/OPTICA.507066
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