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June 9th, 2010
Ten years ago, classical optics was but a sleepy backwater of modern physics, a place to while away the hours in the autumn of your career.
Then all hell broke loose with the development of metamaterials, perfect lenses and invisibility cloaks, prospects that now make optics one of the hottest areas in science.
Today, optics gets another boost with the announcement of yet another entirely new kind of lens that makes perfect images. By perfect, optical physicists mean capable of focusing electromagnetic waves in both the near and far fields in a way that shatters the diffraction limit.
To test the device, they create a complex near-field using 16 microwave monopoles and used the resonant metalens to create an image of this field. Their measurements show that the lens resolves details as small as 1/80 of the wavelength of the monopoles.
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