CORDIS - EU research results
CORDIS

Shapeshifting Metasurfaces for Chemically Selective Augmented Reality

Project description

Improving optical lens performance using metasurfaces

Metasurfaces are artificial sheet materials that are often used to manipulate light scattering, colour, phase or intensity. Their properties can be adapted to a diverse set of applications. The EU-funded METAmorphoses project plans to develop the first shapeshifting optical metasurface that will change its functionality on demand and will adapt to changing external conditions. The metasurface may work as a chemically selective lens that allows the transmission of only the spectral fingerprint of a specific molecule in the mid-infrared wavelength range. The same metasurface can later be turned into an adaptive lens for focussing light on skin.

Objective

I propose to realize the first shapeshifting optical metasurface that changes its functionality on-demand and adapts to changing external conditions. The metasurface may work as a chemically selective lens that allows transmission only of the spectral fingerprint of a specific molecule in the mid-IR wavelength range. The same metasurface can later be turned into an adaptive lens for focusing and detection under the skin. For such ambitious goal, a radically new approach is needed.
I will realize shapeshifting metasurfaces made of a polymer containing photo-switchable molecules. The surface of such polymers undergoes a morphology re-organization (surface structuring) when illuminated by an external visible light pattern. The polymer will be structured with visible light and the resulting metasurfaces will work in the mid-IR. I will use state-of-the-art optical nano-imaging techniques to investigate the surface structuring phenomenon at the nanoscale in order to achieve full control of the mechanism.
Since the polymer surface can continuously be adjusted with the illuminating visible light, it will be possible to shift from one encoded optical functionality to a completely different one. Once optimized, this completely out-of-the-box approach will be completed by developing a feedback mechanism that allows for self- adjustment of the polymeric metasurface to changing external conditions. This will open endless possibilities in many fields, from medical imaging to security and quality control.
The proposed approach is unprecedented but it is perfectly in line with my research activities, resulting in fact from merging different techniques that I master into a new research field.
My approach is also inexpensive relative to the usual nano-fabrication techniques and immediately compatible with high-volume production, providing a viable technology platform for lightweight, eyewear technology, that reflects the views of key industrial players in the field.

Host institution

FONDAZIONE ISTITUTO ITALIANO DI TECNOLOGIA
Net EU contribution
€ 2 745 000,00
Address
VIA MOREGO 30
16163 Genova
Italy

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Region
Nord-Ovest Liguria Genova
Activity type
Research Organisations
Links
Total cost
€ 2 745 000,00

Beneficiaries (2)