FREMONT, Calif. – Imagia, a developer of next-generation lens technology, today announced the close of a $4.5M seed round. Led by Gates Frontier and joined by MetaVC Partners and other strategic investors, the funding will accelerate development and initial commercial deployment of the company’s first generation of flat, silicon-based optical lenses.
“Imagia’s metalens technology promises to open up new frontiers in optical design that were previously impossible.”
Imagia’s metalens technology can shrink an entire optical assembly into a planar, wafer-thin device, resulting in a dramatic reduction in size and complexity for optical assemblies. Using the patent-pending approach, Imagia can precisely pattern nanoscale structures directly onto various substrates, creating completely flat metalenses that steer light waves by design, and without the need for traditional curved lenses. The lenses can be square or round, and can be made as small as a single pixel on a digital display.
Constrained by the limitations of traditional bulk optics, current makers of complex optoelectronic products like AR/VR headsets constantly make tradeoffs between ergonomic form and optical function. These limitations no longer apply with metalenses, which afford manufacturers an unprecedented degree of optical design flexibility to achieve higher-performing products with a dramatic reduction in size, weight and complexity.
Imagia’s approach also allows for completely new device architectures; its metalenses can be built directly on top of CMOS devices like LEDs and image sensors in the same fabrication flow, which eliminates several critical steps of opto-mechanical alignment.
“Metamaterials are a true paradigm shift in the way we manipulate light,” says Greg Kress, CEO of Imagia, “akin to the shift from analog to digital computing. Traditional glass lenses have been around for hundreds of years. The inherent constraints of working with these types of lenses result in complex, bulky optical assemblies that require precise mechanical alignments. Imagia changes that approach by building lenses like integrated circuits, something that was not possible until very recently.”
Currently at the prototype stage, Imagia’s metalens technology has demonstrated an overall reduction in optical system volume by >90% in a variety of applications including lightweight, high-performance AR glasses and next-generation holographic displays. Imagia has also laid the foundation to expand into image sensing lens design, which will bring significant benefits to smartphone camera, satellite and computer vision system design.
“We are firm believers that the next generation of AR glasses will be powered by this kind of metalens technology,” says David Bonelli, Founder & CEO of Pulsar, the leading AR hardware and optics design firm behind Red6’s ATARS and NuEyes’s NuLoupes. Pulsar is now working in partnership with Imagia, exploring future applications for metalenses. “Imagia’s metalens technology promises to open up new frontiers in optical design that were previously impossible.”
Founded by Greg Kress, a Stanford PhD engineer and serial entrepreneur, and led by a team of optical physicists and materials science engineers, Imagia is set to reshape the next generation of high-performance optoelectronics devices through its patent-pending metalens technology. Using proprietary, silicon-based optical materials and state-of-the-art lithography tools, Imagia can program custom lenses that are both flat and square, achieving near 100% fill factors. Imagia is currently developing products for customers in augmented reality displays and LED illumination.
Imagia™ uses metamaterial principles to design and manufacture high-performance optical lenses that are both scalable and compatible with industry-standard light sources like LEDs. The technology allows for custom solutions for advanced imaging and display systems. Imagia™ lenses enable new possibilities in optical design in an ultra-thin and completely flat form factor. www.imagia.io