Concentric rings of plastic on gold allow an optical microscope to resolve objects too small to otherwise be seen (Image: Science/Maryland University)
The team are now altering the shape of the rings to improve the quality of images. “By stacking multiple copies of the flat devices it should be possible to use it in 3D,” says Smolyaninov.
The team hope in particular to make a version that could offer an instant upgrade to biologists. “We are interested in developing a slide for a normal microscope that will allow samples like viruses or DNA to be imaged below the diffraction limit,” says Davis.
the Maryland researchers claim their device should easier to mass produce since it is made using electron beam lithography, a process already widely used in the electronics industry.