Today imaging systems are widely used. For some applications (endoscopy, security cameras,...) a large field of view (FOV) is required. In the literature, several imaging systems are described which perform image transfer through separated optical channels. Some of these are based on nature’s insect facet eyes
We were inspired by nature for designing this large FOV imaging system. Indeed the design is based on the working principle of insect facet eyes. These are built up of hundreds to thousands of single channels called ommatidia. Each of these ommatidia is capturing light from a certain cone of angles of incidence. Since these ommatidia are positioned on a curved surface, insects have a very large FOV. There are two main types of facet eyes: superposition eyes and apposition eyes. In superposition eyes, light from different adjacent channels is guided to a common receptor while in apposition eyes, each channel has its own receptor. The advantage of superposition eyes is their higher sensitivity at cost of a lower resolution compared to apposition eyes which work close to the diffraction limit. In superposition eyes, an overall image is formed by the superposition of the images formed through the different facets, while in apposition it is the mosaic formed by the adjacent FOVs.
In this research topic we focus on the modelling, prototyping and characterization of bio-inspired micro-optical components. The goal is to analyse the working principle of insect facet eyes, to mimic their functionality, to fabricate them with our in-house technology 'Deep proton writing (DPW)’ and to combine the new designed components based on nature's design with the sensor arrays designed by HOLST (IMEC NL). Our design is based on a combination of the superposition and apposition eye. Each lens captures light from different directions is space (superposition), but still has its own receptor (apposition). The design is thus built up of different channels (lens and detector), each capturing a part of the total field-of-view.
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