Meta-material lenses for hyperspectral Imaging
Profile last edited on: 9/19/2022

Total Award Amount
Award Phase
Principal Investigator
David L Carnahan
Activity Indicator

Company Information

NanoLab Inc

22 Bedford Street
Waltham, MA 02453
   (781) 609-2722
Multiple Locations:   
Congressional District:   05
County:   Middlesex

Phase I

Phase I year
Phase I Amount
The objective of this SBIR effort is to design, build, and demonstrate a tunable metamaterial lens that can be used in concert with a focal plane array to produce 2D spatial images from selected narrow wavelength bands, enabling hyperspectral imaging. NanoLab is expert in both nanoparticle synthesis and nanoscale patterning. Coupled with the theoretical & modeling expertise and experience at Boston College, which specifically includes negative index materials (NIM) and nanoparticle plasmonics, we have a team capable of designing, modelling, fabricating and testing NIM lens materials. Our goal will be to prototype metamaterial lenses, then ultimately integrate these with a hyperspectral focal plane array, which offer focusing by minimally-or uncurved slabs of NIM instead of conventionally shaped lenses, capable of subwavelength spatial resolution (i.e., near-field resolution extending into the far field). This will provide a pathway for their eventual use in UAV-mounted hyperspectral imaging.

The addition of a NIM lens to the optical setup will reduce the weight and size of the objective, collimating and focusing optics, allowing thin, planar geometries to replace the bulky lenses of today. They may also enable wider spectral ranges than current materials allow. A NIM makes a perfect lens, by focusing all Fourier components of an incident wave, including evanescent components that are usually lost to damping. NIMS and other plasmonic devices we are developing could manifest in the marketplace in multiple optics applications, such as microscopes capable of interrogating sub-light wavelength size structures, highly miniaturized optical and laser devices for medical applications, etc.

hyperspectral, hyperspectral, refractive index, meta material, lens, negative

Phase II

Phase II year
2022 (last award dollars: 2022)
Phase II Amount
This effort will advance the state of the art in hyperspectral imaging through the use of metamaterials, which have a negative refractive index. This technology enables more compact & durable, lighter weight designs for hyperspectral detection, which is crucial for deployment on smaller UAV systems. The team of NanoLab and Boston College together have world-class capabilities in nanoscale fabrication and modelling of metamaterial systems, and are developing a solution that minimizes the angular sensitivity common in other metamaterial surfaces. Further this technology is applicable across the entire visible to IR spectrum, and should create game changing opportunities for hyperspectal sensing.

Metamaterials exhibit the unique property of negative index of refraction, typically only for a designed wavelength range, whereas positive index materials change only gradually across the spectrum. As such, metamaterials can work uniquely, as a bandpass filter and focusing lens for wavelengths within their design parameters. The unique nature of negative index materials (NIM) enables a planar slab to focus light, which should allow us to fabricate these directly on types of detector arrays to simplify hypserspectral and other IR camera designs. NIMS could find use across the entire field of optics, and prove enabling for telescopes, microscopy, thermography, range finding, hyperspectral imaging, etc. Within DOD, many UAS systems will benefit from increased capability/resolution for hyperspectral imaging into the IR, where it is poorly serviced now.

optical, Infrared, Hyperspectral Imaging, negative index, metamaterial