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2005 issue. A research paper concluded
a metamaterial with negative refractive
index could achieve subwavelength resolution, but only in the near field. CVI
Optical Components and Assemblies
advertised optics for 193 nm water-im-mersion photolithography, which provides subwavelength resolution for making semiconductor chips. The world’s
fastest adaptive optics system was in-
stalled on the world’s oldest super-tele-scope—the 200-inch Hale Telescope at
the Palomar Observatory (San Diego,
CA). And the laser marketplace had become global, with advertisers including
HC Photonics (HsinChu City, Taiwan),
providing a variety of periodically poled
nonlinear optical materials, and Kaleido
Technology (Farum, Denmark), offering
precision-molded aspheric glass optics.
October 2014 saw the award of the
New materials for future optics
Nobel Prize in Chemistry to Eric Betzig,
Stefan W. Hell, and William Moerner for
developing super-resolution fluorescence
microscopy to overcome the limits of con-
ventional optical microscopes. Special
Optics (Wharton, NJ) said it was “excit-
ed to have made a small contribution” to
Betzig’s work by developing custom mi-
croscope objectives for his experiments.
Looking forward, Duncan Moore of the
University of Rochester says the future
of optical components “is going to be all
about broadband,” ranging from the ultraviolet to 14 µm for applications ranging from smartphones to military systems.
Merely transmitting light is not enough;
broadband optics should also be achro-
matic. “If you want a 10× zoom, you
have some real challenges,” says Moore.
StingRay Optics (Keene, NH) has de-
veloped a series of SuperBand lenses op-
timized for wavelengths from 0.7 to 5
µm, which combine materials to bring
the whole band into focus, says company
president Chris Alexay. StingRay Optics
hopes to land a contract to develop a mid-
infrared zoom lens to handle both laser
designation in the 1 µm band and imag-
ing in the 3 to 5 µm band, avoiding the
need for dual optical systems in drones.
The auto industry’s interest in 8 to 12
µm thermal imaging has dramatically
reduced prices for optics and sensors in
that band, says Moore. BM W offers the
BMW Night Vision system as a $2300
option to help drivers spot pedestrians or
large animals in or near the road. FLIR
offers a thermal camera accessory for the
iPhone at $349. But with market volume
smaller in the mid-infrared, Moore says
good 3 to 5 µm cameras still sell for tens
of thousands of dollars.
“I can’t imagine a time when the industry has been more poised for new developments,” says Alexay. He expects the
Naval Research Laboratory ( Washington,
DC) to report a promising new family of
materials at the upcoming SPIE Defense
Security and Sensing meeting on April