25 September 2014 Consumer electronic optics: how small can a lens be: the case of panomorph lenses
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Abstract
In 2014, miniature camera modules are applied to a variety of applications such as webcam, mobile phone, automotive, endoscope, tablets, portable computers and many other products. Mobile phone cameras are probably one of the most challenging parts due to the need for smaller and smaller total track length (TTL) and optimized embedded image processing algorithms. As the technology is developing, higher resolution and higher image quality, new capabilities are required to fulfil the market needs. Consequently, the lens system becomes more complex and requires more optical elements and/or new optical elements. What is the limit? How small an injection molded lens can be? We will discuss those questions by comparing two wide angle lenses for consumer electronic market. The first lens is a 6.56 mm (TTL) panoramic (180° FOV) lens built in 2012. The second is a more recent (2014) panoramic lens (180° FOV) with a TTL of 3.80 mm for mobile phone camera. Both optics are panomorph lenses used with megapixel sensors. Between 2012 and 2014, the development in design and plastic injection molding allowed a reduction of the TTL by more than 40%. This TTL reduction has been achieved by pushing the lens design to the extreme (edge/central air and material thicknesses as well as lens shape). This was also possible due to a better control of the injection molding process and material (low birefringence, haze and thermal stability). These aspects will be presented and discussed. During the next few years, we don’t know if new material will come or new process but we will still need innovative people and industries to push again the limits.
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Simon Thibault, Simon Thibault, Jocelyn Parent, Jocelyn Parent, Hu Zhang, Hu Zhang, Xiaojun Du, Xiaojun Du, Patrice Roulet, Patrice Roulet, } "Consumer electronic optics: how small can a lens be: the case of panomorph lenses", Proc. SPIE 9192, Current Developments in Lens Design and Optical Engineering XV, 91920H (25 September 2014); doi: 10.1117/12.2062418; https://doi.org/10.1117/12.2062418
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