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 Explosion on Jupiter-sized star 10 times more powerful than ever seen on our sun
18.04.2019 | University of Warwick

nachricht In vivo super-resolution photoacoustic computed tomography by localization of single dyed droplets
18.04.2019 | Changchun Institute of Optics, Fine Mechanics and Physics, Chinese Academy of Sciences

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: Explosion on Jupiter-sized star 10 times more powerful than ever seen on our sun

A stellar flare 10 times more powerful than anything seen on our sun has burst from an ultracool star almost the same size as Jupiter

  • Coolest and smallest star to produce a superflare found
  • Star is a tenth of the radius of our Sun
  • Researchers led by University of Warwick could only see...

Im Focus: Quantum simulation more stable than expected

A localization phenomenon boosts the accuracy of solving quantum many-body problems with quantum computers which are otherwise challenging for conventional computers. This brings such digital quantum simulation within reach on quantum devices available today.

Quantum computers promise to solve certain computational problems exponentially faster than any classical machine. “A particularly promising application is the...

Im Focus: Largest, fastest array of microscopic 'traffic cops' for optical communications

The technology could revolutionize how information travels through data centers and artificial intelligence networks

Engineers at the University of California, Berkeley have built a new photonic switch that can control the direction of light passing through optical fibers...

Im Focus: A long-distance relationship in femtoseconds

Physicists observe how electron-hole pairs drift apart at ultrafast speed, but still remain strongly bound.

Modern electronics relies on ultrafast charge motion on ever shorter length scales. Physicists from Regensburg and Gothenburg have now succeeded in resolving a...

Im Focus: Researchers 3D print metamaterials with novel optical properties

Engineers create novel optical devices, including a moth eye-inspired omnidirectional microwave antenna

A team of engineers at Tufts University has developed a series of 3D printed metamaterials with unique microwave or optical properties that go beyond what is...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Revered mathematicians and computer scientists converge with 200 young researchers in Heidelberg!

17.04.2019 | Event News

First dust conference in the Central Asian part of the earth’s dust belt

15.04.2019 | Event News

Fraunhofer FHR at the IEEE Radar Conference 2019 in Boston, USA

09.04.2019 | Event News

 
Latest News

New automated biological-sample analysis systems to accelerate disease detection

18.04.2019 | Life Sciences

Explosion on Jupiter-sized star 10 times more powerful than ever seen on our sun

18.04.2019 | Physics and Astronomy

New eDNA technology used to quickly assess coral reefs

18.04.2019 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>