Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Curved Sensor Do-It-Yourself Tutorial

OSA Optics Express publishes Microsoft and HRL Labs open-access paper "Highly curved image sensors: a practical approach for improved optical performance" by Brian Guenter, Neel Joshi, Richard Stoakley, Andrew Keefe, Kevin Geary, Ryan Freeman, Jake Hundley, Pamela Patterson, David Hammon, Guillermo Herrera, Elena Sherman, Andrew Nowak, Randall Schubert, Peter Brewer, Louis Yang, Russell Mott, and Geoff McKnight. Form the abstract"

"The significant optical and size benefits of using a curved focal surface for imaging systems have been well studied yet never brought to market for lack of a high-quality, mass-producible, curved image sensor. In this work we demonstrate that commercial silicon CMOS image sensors can be thinned and formed into accurate, highly curved optical surfaces with undiminished functionality.

We demonstrate these curved sensors in prototype cameras with custom lenses, measuring exceptional resolution of 3220 line-widths per picture height at an aperture of f/1.2 and nearly 100% relative illumination across the field. Though we use a 1/2.3” format image sensor in this report, we also show this process is generally compatible with many state of the art imaging sensor formats. By example, we report photogrammetry test data for an APS-C sized silicon die formed to a 30° subtended spherical angle. These gains in sharpness and relative illumination enable a new generation of ultra-high performance, manufacturable, digital imaging systems for scientific, industrial, and artistic use.


  1. Wow! This will be big if it works in mass production.

  2. 2014 VLSI Symposia programs have been published with a major image sensor news - Sony is to present its curved image sensor at the Technology Symposium.

  3. This static flexure is only strong when the curvature is optimized for a special lens angle. This could be counterproductive when using interchangeable lenses, maybe then the image is even getting worse! Would be better to have a dynamically adjustable sensor then. But for fixed lens designs as in mass procucts (smart phones,...) it could work...


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