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Microoptical artifical compound eyes

: Duparre, J.; Wippermann, F.


Bioinspiration & Biomimetics 1 (2006), Nr.1, S.R1-R16
ISSN: 1748-3190
ISSN: 1748-3182
Fraunhofer IOF ()
apposition eye; objective; camera; cluster eye

Natural compound eyes combine small eye volumes with a large field of view at the cost of comparatively low spatial resolution. For small invertebrates such as flies or moths, compound eyes are the perfectly adapted solution to obtaining sufficient visual information about their environment without overloading their brains with the necessary image processing. However, to date little effort has been made to adopt this principle in optics.
Classical imaging always had its archetype in natural single aperture eyes which, for example, human vision is based on. But a high-resolution image is not always required. Often the focus is on very compact, robust and cheap vision systems. The main question is consequently: what is the better approach for extremely miniaturized imaging systems-just scaling of classical lens designs or being inspired by alternative imaging principles evolved by nature in the case of small insects? In this paper, it is shown that such optical systems can be achieved using state-of-the-art micro-optics technology.
This enables the generation of highly precise and uniform microlens arrays and their accurate alignment to the subsequent optics-, spacing- and optoelectronics structures. The results are thin, simple and monolithic imaging devices with a high accuracy of photolithography. Two different artificial compound eye concepts for compact vision systems have been investigated in detail: the artificial apposition compound eye and the cluster eye.
Novel optical design methods and characterization tools were developed to allow the layout and experimental testing of the planar micro-optical imaging systems, which were fabricated for the first time by micro-optics technology. The artificial apposition compound eye can be considered as a simple imaging optical sensor while the cluster eye is capable of becoming a valid alternative to classical bulk objectives but is much more complex than the first