A broadband achromatic metalens for focusing and imaging in the visible

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A key goal of metalens research is to achieve wavefront shaping of light using optical elements with thicknesses on the order of the wavelength. Such miniaturization is expected to lead to compact, nanoscale optical devices with applications in cameras, lighting, displays and wearable optics. However, retaining functionality while reducing device size has proven particularly challenging. For example, so far there has been no demonstration of broadband achromatic metalenses covering the entire visible spectrum. Here, we show that by judicious design of nanofins on a surface, it is possible to simultaneously control the phase, group delay and group delay dispersion of light, thereby achieving a transmissive achromatic metalens with large bandwidth. We demonstrate diffraction-limited achromatic focusing and achromatic imaging from 470 to 670 nm. Our metalens comprises only a single layer of nanostructures whose thickness is on the order of the wavelength, and does not involve spatial multiplexing or cascading. While this initial design (numerical aperture of 0.2) has an efficiency of about 20% at 500 nm, we discuss ways in which our approach may be further optimized to meet the demand of future applications.

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This work was supported by the Air Force Office of Scientific Research (MURI, grant no. FA9550-14-1-0389 and grant no. FA9550-16-1-0156). This work was performed in part at the Center for Nanoscale Systems (CNS), a member of the National Nanotechnology Coordinated Infrastructure (NNCI), which is supported by the National Science Foundation under NSF award no. 1541959. CNS is part of Harvard University. F.C. gratefully acknowledges a gift from Huawei Inc. under its HIRP FLAGSHIP programme. We thank Y.-W. Huang and J. Sisler for their help with measurements and simulations, respectively.

Author information


  1. Harvard John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, Harvard University, Cambridge, MA, USA

    • Wei Ting Chen
    • , Alexander Y. Zhu
    • , Vyshakh Sanjeev
    • , Mohammadreza Khorasaninejad
    • , Eric Lee
    •  & Federico Capasso
  2. University of Waterloo, Waterloo, ON, Canada

    • Vyshakh Sanjeev
    •  & Eric Lee
  3. Department of Physics, Harvard University, Cambridge, MA, USA

    • Zhujun Shi


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W.T.C. and F.C. conceived the study. A.Y.Z. fabricated the metalenses. W.T.C., V.S., M.K., Z.S. and E.L. performed simulations and developed codes. W.T.C., A.Y.Z. and E.L. measured the metalenses. W.T.C., A.Y.Z., M.K. and F.C. wrote the manuscript. All authors discussed the results and commented on the manuscript.

Competing interests

The authors declare no competing financial interests.

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Federico Capasso.

Supplementary information

  1. Supplementary Information

    Supplementary Figures 1–11


  1. Supplementary Video 1

    Phase profile of achromatic metalens

  2. Supplementary Video 2

    Phase profile of chromatic metalens (n = 2)

  3. Supplementary Video 3

    Simulated point spread functions of achromatic and chromatic metalenses

  4. Supplementary Video 4

    A real-time video of focal spots for an achromatic metalens (NA = 0.2)

  5. Supplementary Video 5

    A real-time video of focal spots for an achromatic metalens (NA = 0.02)