With smartphone manufacturers hell-bent on shaving a few millimetres off their devices, tradeoffs usually come to follow with such a trend. For one, there’s the battery capacity that gets smaller and smaller each time they release a new, thin smartphone. Another thing to take notice of is the protruding camera, which is evidently seen in the iPhone 6. Now, a new scientific development has led to the creation of the world’s thinnest camera lens, thus providing more room for manufacturers to create even thinner designs.
1. The newly created camera lens is a record breaker with its 6.3-nanometre thickness. Now, if you need perspective regarding its size, that’s equal to one two-thousandth the thickness of a human hair. The world record was previously held by a lens 50-nanometre thick. That’s eight times smaller than the previous record.
2. Although the new technology could easily revolutionise mobile devices, it also has a number of applications in several industries and other devices with display panels and cameras. What’s more, researchers believe that it can be used to copy the compound eyes of insects that give them ‘super vision.’
3. A team of scientists led by Dr. Yuerui (Larry) Lu from the Australia National University (ANU) Research School of Engineering, were the ones behind the new development.
4. The camera lens was made from a crystal that’s also 6.3-nanometres thick. It also comes with nine atomic layers, which were peeled off from a larger piece of molybdenum disulphide. Afterwards, the team created a 10-micron radius lens which was shaped as a dome using a focused ion beam to shave off the layers.
5. The team credits the molybdenum disulphide crystal for the new invention, noting that not only can the crystal be shaved using lasers to very thin layers, it’s flexible as well.
Apple has been working on making its iPhones thinner by each generation. It was even reported before that the company will ditch the headphone jack to reduce the iPhone’s thickness as much as 0.4 inches. With Apple bullish on the idea of thinner devices, it may only be a couple of years until we see smartphones thinner than credit cards.