Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Stretchable Silicon Camera Next Step To Artificial Retina

07.08.2008
By combining stretchable optoelectronics and biologically inspired design, scientists have created a remarkable imaging device, with a layout based on the human eye.

As reported in the Aug. 7 issue of the journal Nature, researchers at the University of Illinois and Northwestern University have developed a high-performance, hemispherical “eye” camera using an array of single-crystalline silicon detectors and electronics, configured in a stretchable, interconnected mesh.

The work opens new possibilities for advanced camera design. It also foreshadows artificial retinas for bionic eyes similar in concept to those in the movie “Terminator” and other popular science fiction.

“Conformally wrapping surfaces with stretchable sheets of optoelectronics provides a practical route for integrating well-developed planar device technologies onto complex curvilinear objects,” said John Rogers, the Flory-Founder Chair Professor of Materials Science and Engineering at Illinois, and corresponding author of the paper.

“This approach allows us to put electronics in places where we couldn’t before,” Rogers said. “We can now, for the first time, move device design beyond the flatland constraints of conventional wafer-based systems.”

The camera’s design is based on that of the human eye, which has a simple, single-element lens and a hemispherical detector. The camera integrates such a detector with a hemispherical cap and imaging lens, to yield a system with the overall size, shape and layout of the human eye.

To make the camera, the researchers begin by molding a thin rubber membrane in the shape of a hemisphere. The rubber membrane is then stretched with a specialized mechanical stage to form a flat drumhead.

Next, a prefabricated focal plane array and associated electronics – created by conventional planar processing – are transferred from a silicon wafer to the tensioned, drumhead membrane.

When the tension is released, the membrane returns to its original shape. This process compresses the focal plane array, causing specially designed electrical interconnects to delaminate from the rubber surface and form arcs, pinned on the ends by detector pixels. These deformations accommodate strains associated with the planar to hemispherical transformation, without stressing the silicon, as confirmed by mechanics modeling performed by researchers at Northwestern.

The array package is then transfer printed to a matching hemispherical glass substrate. Attaching a lens and connecting the camera to external electronics completes the assembly. The camera has the size and shape of a human eye.

Over the last 20 years, many research groups have pursued electronic eye systems of this general type, but none has achieved a working camera.

“Optics simulations and imaging studies show that these systems provide a much broader field of view, improved illumination uniformity and fewer aberrations than flat cameras with similar imaging lenses,” said Rogers, who also is a researcher at the Beckman Institute and at the university’s Frederick Seitz Materials Research Laboratory.

“Hemispherical detector arrays are also much better suited for use as retinal implants than flat detectors,” Rogers said. “The ability to wrap high quality silicon devices onto complex surfaces and biological tissues adds very interesting and powerful capabilities to electronic and optoelectronic device design, with many new application possibilities.”

Funding was provided by the National Science Foundation and the U.S. Department of Energy.

James E. Kloeppel | University of Illinois
Further information:
http://www.illinois.edu

More articles from Physics and Astronomy:

nachricht X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy under real ambient pressure conditions
28.06.2017 | National Institutes of Natural Sciences

nachricht New photoacoustic technique detects gases at parts-per-quadrillion level
28.06.2017 | Brown University

All articles from Physics and Astronomy >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Can we see monkeys from space? Emerging technologies to map biodiversity

An international team of scientists has proposed a new multi-disciplinary approach in which an array of new technologies will allow us to map biodiversity and the risks that wildlife is facing at the scale of whole landscapes. The findings are published in Nature Ecology and Evolution. This international research is led by the Kunming Institute of Zoology from China, University of East Anglia, University of Leicester and the Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research.

Using a combination of satellite and ground data, the team proposes that it is now possible to map biodiversity with an accuracy that has not been previously...

Im Focus: Climate satellite: Tracking methane with robust laser technology

Heatwaves in the Arctic, longer periods of vegetation in Europe, severe floods in West Africa – starting in 2021, scientists want to explore the emissions of the greenhouse gas methane with the German-French satellite MERLIN. This is made possible by a new robust laser system of the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT in Aachen, which achieves unprecedented measurement accuracy.

Methane is primarily the result of the decomposition of organic matter. The gas has a 25 times greater warming potential than carbon dioxide, but is not as...

Im Focus: How protons move through a fuel cell

Hydrogen is regarded as the energy source of the future: It is produced with solar power and can be used to generate heat and electricity in fuel cells. Empa researchers have now succeeded in decoding the movement of hydrogen ions in crystals – a key step towards more efficient energy conversion in the hydrogen industry of tomorrow.

As charge carriers, electrons and ions play the leading role in electrochemical energy storage devices and converters such as batteries and fuel cells. Proton...

Im Focus: A unique data centre for cosmological simulations

Scientists from the Excellence Cluster Universe at the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität Munich have establised "Cosmowebportal", a unique data centre for cosmological simulations located at the Leibniz Supercomputing Centre (LRZ) of the Bavarian Academy of Sciences. The complete results of a series of large hydrodynamical cosmological simulations are available, with data volumes typically exceeding several hundred terabytes. Scientists worldwide can interactively explore these complex simulations via a web interface and directly access the results.

With current telescopes, scientists can observe our Universe’s galaxies and galaxy clusters and their distribution along an invisible cosmic web. From the...

Im Focus: Scientists develop molecular thermometer for contactless measurement using infrared light

Temperature measurements possible even on the smallest scale / Molecular ruby for use in material sciences, biology, and medicine

Chemists at Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz (JGU) in cooperation with researchers of the German Federal Institute for Materials Research and Testing (BAM)...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Plants are networkers

19.06.2017 | Event News

Digital Survival Training for Executives

13.06.2017 | Event News

Global Learning Council Summit 2017

13.06.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Supersensitive through quantum entanglement

28.06.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy under real ambient pressure conditions

28.06.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Mice provide insight into genetics of autism spectrum disorders

28.06.2017 | Health and Medicine

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>