Metasurfaces offer a unique platform to precisely control optical wavefronts and enable the realization of flat lenses, or metalenses, which have the potential to substantially reduce the size and complexity of imaging systems and to realize new imaging modalities. However, it is a major challenge to create achromatic metalenses that produce a single focal length over a broad wavelength range because of the difficulty in simultaneously engineering phase profiles at distinct wavelengths on a single metasurface. For practical applications, there is a further challenge to create broadband achromatic metalenses that work in the transmission mode for incident light waves with any arbitrary polarization state. We developed a design methodology and created libraries of meta-units—building blocks of metasurfaces—with complex cross-sectional geometries to provide diverse phase dispersions (phase as a function of wavelength), which is crucial for creating broadband achromatic metalenses. We elucidated the fundamental limitations of achromatic metalens performance by deriving mathematical equations that govern the tradeoffs between phase dispersion and achievable lens parameters, including the lens diameter, numerical aperture (NA), and bandwidth of achromatic operation. We experimentally demonstrated several dielectric achromatic metalenses reaching the fundamental limitations. These metalenses work in the transmission mode with polarization-independent focusing efficiencies up tomore »
Metalenses have shown great promise in their ability to function as ultracompact optical systems for focusing and imaging. Remarkably, several designs have been recently demonstrated that operate over a large range of frequencies with minimized chromatic aberrations, potentially paving the way for ultrathin achromatic optics. Here, we derive fundamental bandwidth limits that apply to broadband optical metalenses regardless of their implementation. Specifically, we discuss how the product between achievable time delay and bandwidth is limited in any time-invariant system, and we apply well-established bounds on this product to a general focusing system. We then show that all metalenses designed thus far obey the appropriate bandwidth limit. The derived physical bounds provide a useful metric to compare and assess the performance of different devices, and they offer fundamental insight into how to design better broadband metalenses.
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- Article No. 624
- Optical Society of America
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- National Science Foundation
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