Science Advances: University of Stuttgart, Germany, researchers propose to utilize a femtosecond laser-based 3D printer to print high precision multi-component microlens directly onto CMOS image sensor. Their paper "3D-printed eagle eye: Compound microlens system for foveated imaging" by Simon Thiele, Kathrin Arzenbacher, Timo Gissibl, Harald Giessen, and Alois M. Herkommer presents the new approach:
"We present a highly miniaturized camera, mimicking the natural vision of predators, by 3D-printing different multilens objectives directly onto a complementary metal-oxide semiconductor (CMOS) image sensor. Our system combines four printed doublet lenses with different focal lengths (equivalent to f = 31 to 123 mm for a 35-mm film) in a 2 × 2 arrangement to achieve a full field of view of 70° with an increasing angular resolution of up to 2 cycles/deg field of view in the center of the image. The footprint of the optics on the chip is below 300 um × 300 um, whereas their height is less than 200 um. Because the four lenses are printed in one single step without the necessity for any further assembling or alignment, this approach allows for fast design iterations and can lead to a plethora of different miniaturized multiaperture imaging systems with applications in fields such as endoscopy, optical metrology, optical sensing, surveillance drones, or security."