Researchers have introduced the concept of metaform optics – integration of freeform optics and metasurfaces into a single optical component. This metaform architecture will benefit high-resolution optical systems with a compact form factor, such as augmented reality displays, sensors, and mobile cameras.
The researchers experimentally realized a miniature imager using a metaform mirror. They used enhanced electron beam lithography process on a freeform substrate to fabricate the mirror. Metaforms offer design degrees of freedom that will support a new generation of optical systems.
The inspiration for the metaform optics is to serve as the combiner for a near-eye display. Near-eye display development is one field where metaforms can be particularly useful for imaging. The optic that combines the real-world view and the digital image should conform to the existing curved glass shape.