Vision for Future Micro-Optical Technology Based on Metamaterials
[Research team led by Professor Junsuk Rho of POSTECH provides valuable insights into integrated metasurfaces, compiling an analysis spanning from latest research trends to commercialization]
Metasurfaces, also known as invisibility cloak technology, are an artificial material adept at manipulating. With metasurfaces allowing for lenses to be reduced to one 10,000th the size of conventional lenses, they are generating considerable interest as optical components allowing miniaturization of optical systems for the next generation of virtual and augmented reality as well as LiDAR*1. If metasurfaces become commercially viable, overcoming the challenges of complex manufacturing processes and high production costs, Korea could gain a significant technological edge in the field of nano-optics.
A collaborative research team led by Professor Junsuk Rho from the Department of Mechanical Engineering and the Department of Chemical Engineering with PhD candidates Younghwan Yang, Junhwa Seong, Minseok Choi, and Junkyeong Park, (co-lead authors) from the Department of Mechanical Engineering at Pohang University of Science and Technology (POSTECH), and Dr. Gyoseon Jeon, Dr. Kyong-il Lee, and Dr. Dong Hyun Yoon from the Research Institute of Industrial Science and Technology (RIST) has published a paper summarizing research trends in a near-future micro-optical platform based on metasurfaces in Light: Science and Applications. They also propose future research directions and methods for commercialization in the academic journal.
Historically, metasurface research has concentrated on the full manipulation of light’s characteristics, resulting in a diverse array of optical devices such as metalenses, metaholograms, and beam diffraction devices. Nevertheless, recent studies have shifted their focus toward integrating metasurfaces with other optical components.
In their paper, the research team proposes a study of and applications for integrated metasurfaces. These integrated metasurfaces are optical components that can be combined with various standard optical components such as light-emitting diodes (LEDs) and liquid crystal display (LCD). For commercialization of metasurfaces, the research team suggested that future research in this field should focus on how to integrate metasurface into commonly used devices, making them applicable in everyday life.
Furthermore, the research team emphasizes the importance of collaboration between industry and academia, underscoring the impact that metasurface research can have on the future optical device industry and national competitiveness. They stressed that national-level support and cooperation are essential for the development of innovative optical platforms.
Professor Junsuk Rho explained, “Integrated metasurfaces complement existing electronic technologies and represent another innovative solution for a variety of applications.” He added, “I hope there will be sustained efforts, research, and national support that will lead to even more innovative outcomes.”
The research was sponsored by a program of POSCO’s Industry-Academic Integrated Research Center, the STEAM Research Program of the National Research Foundation of Korea funded by the Ministry of Science and ICT, the Doctoral Student Grant Program of the Ministry of Education, Samsung Science and Technology Center, and Chung Mong-Koo Foundation.
1. 1. Light Detection and Ranging (LiDAR)
A technology used to measure the distance between objects and various properties of matter by projecting light onto a specific object. It enables the calculation of distances to destinations using light, becoming also known as “the eye” of autonomous vehicles.