Curved sensors will improve the quality of the cameras
Researchers have developed the technology of bending of commercially available matrices for the cameras.
Compared to flat, such matrices lose much less light at the edges, and also less susceptible to aberrations. The work of specialists from the research division of Microsoft and the company HRL Laboratories published in the journal Optics Express.
The human eye is designed in such a way that the image is formed on the curved retina located at the back of the eye. Unlike eyes, cameras use flat design matrix or film. In order to focus the image on a flat surface to eliminate aberration occurs, engineers use a complex system with multiple lenses that increase the size, weight and cost of the cameras. We have already presented prototypes of curved matrices, but they had low resolution and some of them demanded a strong refinement of technical processes in production.
Scientists have avoided these limitations by using technology that allows you to bend existing commercially available sensors using relatively simple equipment. They made a special mold coated with a thin layer of adhesive into which was placed the flexible substrate with the sensor. The substrate was attached to a thin membrane. The resulting structure was transferred to the staff, which gradually increased the pressure and pressed substrate from the membrane to the mold. In contrast to the approach used in other studies, the researchers decided not to fix the substrate on the edges. This allowed them to avoid concentrations of mechanical stress at the edges of the substrate, which could lead to its damage. Due to this, scientists have obtained a curved matrix with a much greater curvature than in other works.
The researchers compared the image quality obtained using the new sensor size½.3 (6,1×4.6 mm), with the image obtained by using professional full-frame (36×24 mm) camera. In tests, the new sensor showed a much smaller decrease of sharpness at the edges and almost independent of the distance from the center of the brightness of the image.
The image obtained with curved sensor
Brian Guenter et al./Optics Express, 2017
Scientists believe that their method is the production of curved matrices completely ready to use with existing equipment and processes and will produce a small camera with the features at the level of professional equipment.
In 2016, was presented a prototype camera that allows you to change the angle due to the flexible matrix and lenses.