Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Can You See Me Now? Flexible Photodetectors Could Help Sharpen Photos

Date:
January 14, 2009
Source:
University of Wisconsin-Madison
Summary:
Distorted cell-phone photos and big, clunky telephoto lenses could be things of the past.

This example of a curved photodetector array was developed by University of Wisconsin-Madison Electrical and Computer Engineering Associate Professor Zhenqiang (Jack) Ma and colleagues. Inspired by the human eye, Ma's curved photodetector made of flexible germanium could eliminate the photo distortion that occurs in conventional photo lenses.
Credit: courtesy Zhenqiang Ma

Distorted cell-phone photos and big, clunky telephoto lenses could be things of the past.

University of Wisconsin-Madison Electrical and Computer Engineering Associate Professor Zhenqiang (Jack) Ma and colleagues have developed a flexible light-sensitive material that could revolutionize photography and other imaging technologies.

Their technology is featured on the cover of the January 5 issue of Applied Physics Letters.

When a device records an image, light passes through a lens and lands on a photodetector—a light-sensitive material like the sensor in a digital camera. However, a lens bends the light and curves the focusing plane. In a digital camera, the point where the focusing plane meets the flat sensor will be in focus, but the image becomes more distorted the farther it is from that focus point.

"If I take a picture with a cell phone camera, for example, there is distortion," says Ma. "The closer the subject is to the lens, the more distortion there is."

That's why some photos can turn out looking like images in a funhouse mirror, with an enlarged nose or a hand as big as a head.

High-end digital cameras correct this problem by incorporating multiple panes of glass to refract light and flatten the focusing plane. However, such lens systems—like the mammoth telephoto lenses sports photographers use—are large, bulky and expensive. Even high-quality lenses stretch the edges of an image somewhat.

Inspired by the human eye, Ma's curved photodetector could eliminate that distortion. In the eye, light enters though a single lens, but at the back of the eye, the image falls upon the curved retina, eliminating distortion. "If you can make a curved imaging plane, you just need one lens," says Ma. "That's why this development is extremely important."

Ma and his group can create curved photodetectors with specially fabricated nanomembranes—extremely thin, flexible sheets of germanium, a very light-sensitive material often used in high-end imaging sensors. Researchers then can apply the nanomembranes to any polymer substrate, such as a thin, flexible piece of plastic. Currently, the group has demonstrated photodetectors curved in one direction, but Ma hopes next to develop hemispherical sensors.

"We can easily realize very high-density flexible and sensitive imaging arrays, because the photodetector material germanium itself is extremely bendable and extremely efficient in absorbing light," Ma adds.

Ma's co-authors include UW-Madison Materials Science and Engineering Professor Max Lagally and University of Michigan Professor Pallab Bhattacharya.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Wisconsin-Madison. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University of Wisconsin-Madison. "Can You See Me Now? Flexible Photodetectors Could Help Sharpen Photos." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 14 January 2009. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/01/090113155847.htm>.
University of Wisconsin-Madison. (2009, January 14). Can You See Me Now? Flexible Photodetectors Could Help Sharpen Photos. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 2, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/01/090113155847.htm
University of Wisconsin-Madison. "Can You See Me Now? Flexible Photodetectors Could Help Sharpen Photos." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/01/090113155847.htm (accessed September 2, 2014).

Share This




More Matter & Energy News

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Australian Airlines Relax Phone Ban Too

Australian Airlines Relax Phone Ban Too

Reuters - Business Video Online (Aug. 26, 2014) Qantas and Virgin say passengers can use their smartphones and tablets throughout flights after a regulator relaxed a ban on electronic devices during take-off and landing. As Hayley Platt reports the move comes as the two domestic rivals are expected to post annual net losses later this week. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Hurricane Marie Brings Big Waves to California Coast

Hurricane Marie Brings Big Waves to California Coast

Reuters - US Online Video (Aug. 26, 2014) Huge waves generated by Hurricane Marie hit the Southern California coast. Rough Cut (no reporter narration). Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Chinese Researchers Might Be Creating Supersonic Submarine

Chinese Researchers Might Be Creating Supersonic Submarine

Newsy (Aug. 26, 2014) Chinese researchers have expanded on Cold War-era tech and are closer to building a submarine that could reach the speed of sound. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Breakingviews: India Coal Strained by Supreme Court Ruling

Breakingviews: India Coal Strained by Supreme Court Ruling

Reuters - Business Video Online (Aug. 26, 2014) An acute coal shortage is likely to be aggravated as India's supreme court declared government coal allocations illegal, says Breakingviews' Peter Thal Larsen. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins