Ray-optical transformation optics with ideal thin lenses makes omnidirectional lenses

Courtial, Johannes and Tyc, Tomáš and Bělín, Jakub and Oxburgh, Stephen and Ferenczi, Gergely and Cowie, Euan N. and White, Chris D. (2018) Ray-optical transformation optics with ideal thin lenses makes omnidirectional lenses. Optics Express, 26 (14). pp. 17872-17888. ISSN 1094-4087 (https://doi.org/10.1364/OE.26.017872)

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We present the theory of ray-optical transformation optics (RTO) with ideal thin lenses and show that ideal-thin-lens RTO devices are omnidirectional lenses. Key to designing such devices are two theorems, the loop-imaging theorem, and the edge-imaging theorem, which ensure that the interior physical space is distorted in the same way for all viewing directions. We discuss the possibility of realising such devices using lens holograms or Fresnel lenses, as both are in principle capable of changing the directions of rays incident from a specific point precisely like an ideal thin lens, thereby enabling macroscopic and broad-band RTO devices that work for at least one viewing position. Even when restricted in this way, our work opens up new possibilities in ray optics. Our devices have the potential to form the basis of new microscope objectives, virtual-reality headsets, and medical spectacles.