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14 February 2011 On the evolution of wafer level cameras
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The introduction of small cost effective cameras based on CMOS image sensor technology has played an important role in the revolution in mobile devices of the last 10 years. Wafer-based optics manufacturing leverages the same fabrication equipment used to produce CMOS sensors. The natural integration of these two technologies allows the mass production of very low cost surface mount cameras that can fit into ever thinner mobile devices. Nano Imprint Lithography (NIL) equipment has been adapted to make precision aspheres that can be stacked using wafer bonding techniques to produce multi-element lens assemblies. This, coupled with advances in mastering technology, allows arrays of lenses with prescriptions not previously possible. A primary motivation for these methods is that it allows the consolidation of the supply chain. Image sensor manufacturers envision creating optics by simply adding layers to their existing sensor fabrication lines. Results thus far have been promising. The current alternative techniques for creating VGA cameras are discussed as well as the prime cost drivers for lens to sensor integration. Higher resolution cameras face particularly difficult challenges, but can greatly simplify the critical tilt and focus steps needed to assemble cameras that produce quality images. Finally, we discuss the future of wafer-level cameras and explore several of the novel concepts made possible by the manufacturing advantages of photolithography.
© (2011) COPYRIGHT Society of Photo-Optical Instrumentation Engineers (SPIE). Downloading of the abstract is permitted for personal use only.
H. Welch "On the evolution of wafer level cameras", Proc. SPIE 7927, Advanced Fabrication Technologies for Micro/Nano Optics and Photonics IV, 79270A (14 February 2011);


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