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  1. Foveated imaging provides a better tradeoff between situational awareness (field of view) and resolution, and is critical in long wavelength infrared regimes because of the size, weight, power, and cost of thermal sensors. We demonstrate computational foveated imaging by exploiting the ability of a meta-optical frontend to discriminate between different polarization states and a computational backend to reconstruct the captured image/video. The frontend is a three-element optic: the first element, which we call the “foveal” element, is a metalens that focuses s-polarized light at a distance off1without affecting the p-polarized light; the second element, which we call the “perifovea” element, is another metalens that focuses p-polarized light at a distance off2without affecting thes-polarized light. The third element is a freely rotating polarizer that dynamically changes the mixing ratios between the two polarization states. Both the foveal element (focal length=150mm; diameter=75mm) and the perifoveal element (focal length=25mm; diameter=25mm) were fabricated as polarization-sensitive, all-silicon, meta surfaces resulting in a large-aperture, 1:6 foveal expansion, thermal imaging capability. A computational backend then utilizes a deep image prior to separate the resultant multiplexed image or video into a foveated image consisting of a high resolution center and a lower-resolution large field of view context. We build a prototype system and demonstrate 12 frames per second real-time, thermal, foveated image and video capture..

     
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  2. Abstract Miniature varifocal lenses are crucial for many applications requiring compact optical systems. Here, utilizing electro-mechanically actuated 0.5-mm aperture infrared Alvarez meta-optics, we demonstrate 3.1 mm (200 diopters) focal length tuning with an actuation voltage below 40 V. This constitutes the largest focal length tuning in any low-power electro-mechanically actuated meta-optic, enabled by the high energy density in comb-drive actuators producing large displacements at relatively low voltage. The demonstrated device is produced by a novel nanofabrication process that accommodates meta-optics with a larger aperture and has improved alignment between meta-optics via flip-chip bonding. The whole fabrication process is CMOS compatible and amenable to high-throughput manufacturing. 
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  3. A broad range of imaging and sensing technologies in the infrared require large field-of-view (FoV) operation. To achieve this, traditional refractive systems often employ multiple elements to compensate for aberrations, which leads to excess size, weight, and cost. For many applications, including night vision eye-wear, air-borne surveillance, and autonomous navigation for unmanned aerial vehicles, size and weight are highly constrained. Sub-wavelength diffractive optics, also known as meta-optics, can dramatically reduce the size, weight, and cost of these imaging systems, as meta-optics are significantly thinner and lighter than traditional refractive lenses. Here, we demonstrate 80° FoV thermal imaging in the long-wavelength infrared regime (8–12 µm) using an all-silicon meta-optic with an entrance aperture and lens focal length of 1 cm. 
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  4. Abstract

    Miniature lenses with a tunable focus are essential components for many modern applications involving compact optical systems. While several tunable lenses have been reported with various tuning mechanisms, they often face challenges with respect to power consumption, tuning speed, fabrication cost, or production scalability. In this work, we have adapted the mechanism of an Alvarez lens – a varifocal composite lens in which lateral shifts of two optical elements with cubic phase surfaces give rise to a change in the optical power – to construct a miniature, microelectromechanical system (MEMS)-actuated metasurface Alvarez lens. Implementation based on an electrostatic MEMS generates fast and controllable actuation with low power consumption. The utilization of metasurfaces – ultrathin and subwavelength-patterned diffractive optics – as optical elements greatly reduces the device volume compared to systems using conventional freeform lenses. The entire MEMS Alvarez metalens is fully compatible with modern semiconductor fabrication technologies, granting it the potential to be mass-produced at a low unit cost. In the reported prototype operating at 1550 nm wavelength, a total uniaxial displacement of 6.3 µm was achieved in the Alvarez metalens with a direct-current (DC) voltage application up to 20 V, which modulated the focal position within a total tuning range of 68 µm, producing more than an order of magnitude change in the focal length and a 1460-diopter change in the optical power. The MEMS Alvarez metalens has a robust design that can potentially generate a much larger tuning range without substantially increasing the device volume or energy consumption, making it desirable for a wide range of imaging and display applications.

     
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