Researchers have developed a camera with a curvy, adaptable imaging sensor that could improve image quality in endoscopes, night-vision goggles, artificial compound eyes, and fish-eye cameras. They designed the camera using Kirigami, the Japanese art of paper cutting.
Existing curvy imagers are flexible but not compatible with tunable focal surfaces or stretchable but having low pixel density and pixel fill factors. The new imager with Kirigami design has a high pixel fill factor, before stretching, of 78% and can retain its optoelectronic performance while being biaxially stretched by 30%.
Modern digital camera systems using conventional rigid, flat imaging sensors require complex and bulky lenses to correct optical aberrations. The curvy camera, like a human eyeball, on the other hand, can work with a single lens while correcting aberrations and offering other merits, such as a wide field of view and compact size. The researchers created the curvy and shape-adaptive cameras with high pixel fill factors by transferring an array of ultrathin silicon pixels with a Kirigami design onto curvy surfaces using conformal additive stamp (CAS) printing – a manufacturing technology that the researchers invented.