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Imagia Raises $4.5M, Targets Visible Light Applications

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JOEL WILLIAMS, ASSOCIATE EDITOR
[email protected]

Metalens technology startup Imagia has closed a $4.5 million seed round. The funding will be used to accelerate development and initial commercial deployment of the company’s first generation of flat, silicon-based optical lenses.

The company plans to target the augmented reality (AR) market with its offerings. Imagia's technology is geared toward compatibility with unpolarized, unstructured light sources such as LED and OLED technology, which CEO Greg Kress said is core to its design approach. “We are focused on developing solutions that can work across the visible spectrum, not limited to narrow-band, laser-based, or infrared applications,” he said. “We believe that the ability to work with natural light is where the biggest opportunity lies.”

Imagia, Kress said, is starting out as a design partner and component supplier to help customers realize the benefits of metalenses in their optical architectures. “At scale, we will license our technology to large-scale producers of sensors and display devices to integrate powerful optics layers directly onto their existing fabrication flow,” he said.

In the long term, the company plans to develop technology for machine vision and image sensing applications where much of the processing can be embedded into the optical function of the meta-optic.

Imagia’s metalens technology can shrink an entire optical assembly into a planar, wafer-thin device, cutting the complexity of assemblies in addition to size. The company's approach patterns 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, according to the company. Rectangular apertures, the company said, offer enhanced optical efficiency for square format digital image sensors and displays.

Currently at the prototype stage, the company said that its metalens technology has demonstrated an overall reduction in optical system volume by more than 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.

The funding round was led by Gates Frontier and joined by MetaVC Partners and other strategic investors.

Published: May 2023
Glossary
lens
A transparent optical component consisting of one or more pieces of optical glass with surfaces so curved (usually spherical) that they serve to converge or diverge the transmitted rays from an object, thus forming a real or virtual image of that object.
metalens
A metalens, short for "metasurface lens," is a type of optical lens that uses nanostructured materials to manipulate light at a subwavelength scale. Unlike traditional lenses made of glass or other transparent materials, metalenses do not rely on the curvature of their surface to refract or focus light. Instead, they use carefully engineered patterns of nanostructures, such as nanoscale antennas or dielectric structures, to control the phase and amplitude of light across the lens's surface....
quantum
The term quantum refers to the fundamental unit or discrete amount of a physical quantity involved in interactions at the atomic and subatomic scales. It originates from quantum theory, a branch of physics that emerged in the early 20th century to explain phenomena observed on very small scales, where classical physics fails to provide accurate explanations. In the context of quantum theory, several key concepts are associated with the term quantum: Quantum mechanics: This is the branch of...
seed
1. In glass, a solid inclusion having a small diameter. 2. A particular, single crystal that, after undergoing the Czochralski method, evolves into large single crystals.
BusinessOpticslensmetalensImagingquantummetamaterialssiliconsilicon photonicsImagiastartupseed roundfundingfinancinginvestmentseedGates FrontierMetaVCaugmented realityvirtual realityLEDOLEDARVRAmericasGreg KressIndustry News

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