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Hi-Tech Camera Sees Invisible Light

Photo Credit: Harvard John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences

Harvard engineers recently created a tiny camera that allows them to see polarization.

This breakthrough can be instrumental in self-driving cars and satellites.

In one shot, they are able to achieve imaging of the direction of vibrating light, which has always been invisible to our own eyes. This compact camera is extremely tiny compared to some of the other polarization cameras that currently exist. They are expensive and bulky, which restricts their uses.

This device is expected to help with planes as well as facial recognition, as well as security measures. This will help us to see how light is reflected and transmitted by the world around us. The engineers were able to use metasurfaces, which are nanoscale structures that have an interaction with light at the scale of wavelengths. The metasurface they created directed light and formed four images.

Polarization has been known in the past to be used in machine vision inspection to detect stress in people. This device will help inspection applications reduce reflection and glare, providing a much more detailed image.

The research is expected to continue forward in its growth with tweaks and changes along the way. This camera is giving scientists and engineers a lot of options for current and future projects.