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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 lens is a transparent optical device that focuses or diverges light, allowing it to pass through and form an image. Lenses are commonly used in optical systems, such as cameras, telescopes, microscopes, eyeglasses, and other vision-correcting devices. They are typically made of glass or other transparent materials with specific optical properties. There are two primary types of lenses: Convex lens (converging lens): This type of lens is thicker at the center than at the edges....
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.
augmented reality
Augmented reality (AR) is a technology that integrates digital information, typically in the form of computer-generated graphics, images, or data, with the real-world environment in real-time. AR enhances the user's perception of the physical world by overlaying or combining digital content onto the user's view of the real world, often through devices like smartphones, tablets, smart glasses, or specialized AR headsets. Key features and principles of augmented reality: Real-time...
virtual reality
Virtual reality (VR) is a computer-generated simulation of a three-dimensional environment or experience that can be interacted with and explored by an individual using electronic devices, such as a headset with a display. VR aims to create a sense of presence, immersing users in a computer-generated world that can be entirely fictional or a replication of the real world. It often involves the use of specialized hardware and software to provide a fully immersive and interactive experience. ...
BusinessOpticslensmetalensImagingquantummetamaterialssiliconsilicon photonicsImagiastartupseed roundfundingfinancinginvestmentseedGates FrontierMetaVCaugmented realityvirtual realityLEDOLEDARVRAmericasGreg KressIndustry News

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