Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

'Smart glass' micro-iris for smartphone cameras

Date:
June 18, 2014
Source:
Institute of Physics
Summary:
A small, low-powered camera component made from a 'smart glass' material has been created by a group of researchers in Germany with the hope of inspiring the next generation of smartphone cameras. The micro-iris is an electro-chemical equivalent to the bulky, mechanical blades that are usually found in cameras and has very low power consumption, making it an ideal component for a wide-range of camera-integrated consumer devices.

A small, low-powered camera component made from a "smart glass" material has been created by a group of researchers in Germany with the hope of inspiring the next generation of smartphone cameras.

The micro-iris is an electro-chemical equivalent to the bulky, mechanical blades that are usually found in cameras and has very low power consumption, making it an ideal component for a wide-range of camera-integrated consumer devices.

The device and the first results of its performance have been presented in a study published today, 19 June, in IOP Publishing's Journal of Optics.

In the human eye, the iris controls the diameter of the pupil and subsequently the amount of light that reaches the retina. The purpose of an iris, or aperture stop, in a camera is exactly the same; it controls the amount of light that reaches a camera's sensors, which affects the overall focus of the image.

Traditionally, cameras have contained a set of overlapping blades that are mechanically moved to change the size of the hole -- or aperture -- through which light enters. However, with the rising popularity of small, compact and lightweight consumer devices that are integrated with cameras, it has been almost impossible to miniaturise these mechanical systems.

The researchers, from the University of Kaiserslautern, have proposed an alternative method using an electrochromic material. This material, which is often referred to as "smart glass," transforms from a transparent material into an opaque material when a small electrical voltage is applied to it.

In their study, the researchers fabricated a micro-iris using two glass substrates sandwiched together, and with each one carrying a thin film of electrochromic material, called PEDOT, on an underlying transparent electrode.

The micro-iris was 55 ľm thick and could be switched into an opaque state using a current of 20 ľA with a voltage of 1.5 V.

The micro-iris exhibited a memory effect and did not require a continuous current to maintain the opaque state, so its power consumption remained very small.

In addition to testing the intensity of light that passed through the micro-iris, as well as the amount of time it took to switch between different states, the researchers also examined the depth of focus that the micro-iris was able to impart in comparison to a traditional blade-based iris.

Lead author of the research Tobias Deutschmann said: "There is currently no technological solution available that meets all the demands of integrated iris apertures in smartphones.

"Many of the proposed devices require the motion of a strong absorbing material to block the path of light. Electrochromic materials, as used in this study, remain stationary whilst they change their absorption, so there is no need for any actuation. This allows for much smaller casings to fit around the devices and thus enables the integration into tiny camera systems.

"We will now further investigate the potential of optimized electrochromic materials, with a particular focus on improving the optical contrast and, in particular, the control of the depth of focus -- this is the decisive hardware parameter which determines the success of next-generation models in the smart phone business."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Institute of Physics. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. T Deutschmann, E Oesterschulze. Integrated electrochromic iris device for low power and space-limited applications. Journal of Optics, 2014; 16 (7): 075301 DOI: 10.1088/2040-8978/16/7/075301

Cite This Page:

Institute of Physics. "'Smart glass' micro-iris for smartphone cameras." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 18 June 2014. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/06/140618220637.htm>.
Institute of Physics. (2014, June 18). 'Smart glass' micro-iris for smartphone cameras. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 25, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/06/140618220637.htm
Institute of Physics. "'Smart glass' micro-iris for smartphone cameras." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/06/140618220637.htm (accessed July 25, 2014).

Share This




More Matter & Energy News

Friday, July 25, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

TSA Administrator on Politics and Flight Bans

TSA Administrator on Politics and Flight Bans

AP (July 24, 2014) — TSA administrator, John Pistole's took part in the Aspen Security Forum 2014, where he answered questions on lifting of the ban on flights into Israel's Tel Aviv airport and whether politics played a role in lifting the ban. (July 24) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Creative Makeovers for Ugly Cellphone Towers

Creative Makeovers for Ugly Cellphone Towers

AP (July 24, 2014) — Mobile phone companies and communities across the country are going to new lengths to disguise those unsightly cellphone towers. From a church bell tower to a flagpole, even a pencil, some towers are trying to make a point. (July 24) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Algonquin Power Goes Activist on Its Target Gas Natural

Algonquin Power Goes Activist on Its Target Gas Natural

TheStreet (July 23, 2014) — When The Deal's Amanda Levin exclusively reported that Gas Natural had been talking to potential suitors, the Ohio company responded with a flat denial, claiming its board had not talked to anyone about a possible sale. Lo and behold, Canadian utility Algonquin Power and Utilities not only had approached the company, but it did it three times. Its last offer was for $13 per share as Gas Natural's was trading at a 60-day moving average of about $12.50 per share. Now Algonquin, which has a 4.9% stake in Gas Natural, has taken its case to shareholders, calling on them to back its proposals or, possibly, a change in the target's board. Video provided by TheStreet
Powered by NewsLook.com
Robot Parking Valet Creates Stress-Free Travel

Robot Parking Valet Creates Stress-Free Travel

AP (July 23, 2014) — 'Ray' the robotic parking valet at Dusseldorf Airport in Germany lets travelers to avoid the hassle of finding a parking spot before heading to the check-in desk. (July 23) Video provided by AP
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