GEN3 - Flat/Thin Optics
The ultimate vision of VR device is to be compact and light as prescription glasses. In the XR industry this is already accomplished for AR see-through technology using thin optics waveguides, however, limited by 50° FoV for virtual over-layer. Our roadmap for VR size reduction is to develop thin optical surfaces with refractive / diffractive / holographic structures and metasurfaces. For that reason we initiated research in micro-fabrication of optical structures and participating in OPTIMAL EU Consortium.
The OPTIMAL project combines for the first time various laser lithography technologies and quality monitoring systems into one platform to develop certain structures and aims to speed up and improve the structuring procedure in the range from nanometer up to millimeter size for many applications including free form optics, photonics, multifunctional surfaces. The original structures know as masters are the first step in the making of tools for key-enabling technologies like injection molding or nanoimprinting. Some of the current limitations in the laser lithography processes are the limited depth of the structures, small area and low speed at process level and multiple and expensive processes required for the development of hierarchical multifunctional structures at industrial level. The OPTIMAL project integrates for the first-time different laser lithography technologies, quality monitoring systems and processes in one platform for the development of structures with (i) high depth (150 micrometer), ii) dimensions in the range from 100 nm to sub-mm in XYZ, iii) 2D&3D shape on flat surface, (iv) combining parallel & serial patterning, (v) no need for external treatments on samples; vi) increased speed (1 cm2/min) and large area (up to 2000 cm2). The OPTIMAL project uses self-learning algorithms to optimize the virtual photomask as well as integrates methods for an inline control of the laser patterning. The role of Hypervision is demonstration of use-case of boosting light-efficiency of VR display .
VR/AR displays, either LCD or micro-LED based are having pixel matrix, where each pixel is dedicated for specific vertical and horizontal angle of view which rays are to be collimated by the VR lens toward the eye of VR/AR user. However, most of pixel rays energy is wasted because the solid-angle of rays emission is much wider than needed to be collimated into the VR/AR user eye-box. Hypervision is developing free-form (non-periodic) micro-optics for LCD and micro-LED displays that concentrates and redirects energy of each sub-pixel such that after VR/AR lens collimation will fill the user eye-box only. In such way the the virtual image layer brightness is boosted and power consumption of VR/AR display could be reduced. The same technology could be adapted for personal monitors (smartphones, notebooks, PC-displays) for privacy and reduced power consumption. For more information see CORDIS page about OPTIMLAL EU Consortium.