|“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.
Schematic illustration of steps for using compressible silicon focal plane arrays and hemispherical, elastomeric transfer elements to fabricate electronic eye cameras. Photo courtesy John Rogers
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.
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.
Editor’s note: To reach John Rogers, call 217-244-4979; e-mail: email@example.com
James E. Kloeppel, Physical Sciences Editor 217-244-1073 firstname.lastname@example.org WEB: University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Tags: Nano or Nanotechnology and Nanotech