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posted by Fnord666 on Wednesday June 28 2017, @08:37PM   Printer-friendly
from the seeing-clearly dept.

Caltech has created a camera without a lens:

Traditional cameras—even those on the thinnest of cell phones—cannot be truly flat due to their optics: lenses that require a certain shape and size in order to function. At Caltech, engineers have developed a new camera design that replaces the lenses with an ultra-thin optical phased array (OPA). The OPA does computationally what lenses do using large pieces of glass: it manipulates incoming light to capture an image.

[...] "Here, like most other things in life, timing is everything. With our new system, you can selectively look in a desired direction and at a very small part of the picture in front of you at any given time, by controlling the timing with femto-second—quadrillionth of a second—precision," says Ali Hajimiri, Bren Professor of Electrical Engineering and Medical Engineering in the Division of Engineering and Applied Science at Caltech, and the principal investigator of a paper describing the new camera. The paper was presented at the Optical Society of America's (OSA) Conference on Lasers and Electro-Optics (CLEO) and published online by the OSA in the OSA Technical Digest in March 2017.

"We've created a single thin layer of integrated silicon photonics that emulates the lens and sensor of a digital camera, reducing the thickness and cost of digital cameras. It can mimic a regular lens, but can switch from a fish-eye to a telephoto lens instantaneously—with just a simple adjustment in the way the array receives light," Hajimiri says.

Does this have implications for astronomy?

"The applications are endless," says graduate student Behrooz Abiri (MS '12), coauthor of the OSA paper. "Even in today's smartphones, the camera is the component that limits how thin your phone can get. Once scaled up, this technology can make lenses and thick cameras obsolete. It may even have implications for astronomy by enabling ultra-light, ultra-thin enormous flat telescopes on the ground or in space."

Okay.

Paper: An 8x8 Heterodyne Lens-less OPA Camera


Original Submission

 
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  • (Score: 2, Informative) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 28 2017, @09:46PM (2 children)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 28 2017, @09:46PM (#532658)

    Not sure how this made it to the front page of SN, this is some very preliminary work which has not even achieved parity with other groups working on phase array techniques. It was not even the among the more interesting talks presented at CLEO 2017, of which there were hundreds. If you want something for the front page you should at least pick a result that is new and/or actually working. After they have figured out how to scale their scheme to reasonable numbers of pixels (which is quite nontrivial, when you consider anyone asking for a camera will laugh at you even if you give them 10x10 pixels as demonstrated here, even a 1000x1000 pixels is not enough to really be called a camera in this day and age. Then, even if they do figure out how to do the scaling (which people taking other approaches to this goal have already solved), they still need to make it work with polychromatic light (currently no one knows how to make that happen well).

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  • (Score: 1, Funny) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 28 2017, @10:53PM

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 28 2017, @10:53PM (#532679)

    The selection process is "does it sound cool" or "is this a partisan piece of garbage"?

    If your story matches one or more of those criteria it goes in the queue. End of story. Fact checking, let alone researching alternative journals / articles is so far beyond the max level of effort.

  • (Score: 4, Interesting) by Bobs on Thursday June 29 2017, @03:19AM

    by Bobs (1462) on Thursday June 29 2017, @03:19AM (#532788)

    Would love to have you submit some of those. Sounds like good info.

    Thx