'Small is beautiful when it comes to the Universe'

(Article Precis, 15/Aug/1998, Issue 2147, p20)
Jonathan Hartley reports on work by Russian scientists at Macintosh Nano-Optics, a company based in Norfolk (England), which is developing a tiny lens more than 60% smaller than existing lenses used in the CCDs (charged-coupled devices) of today's telescopes.

With one lens for every pixel in a CCD and an optical fibre behind each lens, light from all the lenses is collected and processed by a computer to form a combined imagel; but existing lenses waste as much as 40% of the light which falls on them, mainly due to the difficulties of making lenses with sufficient curvature.

However, the new lens design is said to lose almost none of the incident light, giving rise to considerably improved image quality. Since design patents are still in progress, Macintosh Nano-Optics has not divulged any information as to how the new lenses are made, except to say that their methods involve a smaller numbers of constructional steps.

Note: In order to comply with copyright law, I have ommited some details from the original article. Thus, for a complete insight into the topic covered here, please either consult your local library for the issue concerned, purchase the relevant issue from your local newsagent, or back-order it from the publishers.

Precised by Ian Mapleson, 16/Aug/1998.