A 3-D Camera For Safer Autonomy And Advanced Biomedical Imaging

Researchers have demonstrated the use of stacked, transparent graphene photodetectors combined with image processing algorithms to produce 3-D images and range detection.

Researchers at the University of Michigan have proven the viability of a 3-D camera that can provide high quality three-dimensional imaging while determining how far away objects are from the lens. This information is critical for 3-D biological imaging, robotics, and autonomous driving.

Instead of using opaque photodetectors traditionally used in cameras, the proposed camera uses a stack of transparent photodetectors made from graphene to simultaneously capture and focus in on objects that are different distances from the camera lens.

The system works because of the unique traits of graphene, which is only one atomic layer thick and absorbs only about 2.3% of the light. A pair of graphene layers can be used to construct a photodetector that can efficiently detect light, even though less than 5% of the light is absorbed. When placed on a transparent substrate, instead of a silicon chip for example, the detectors can be stacked, with each one in a different focal plane.

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