High Efficiency Micro-Scale Light-Concentrating Arrays for Digital Imaging

• Digital imaging
• Digital cameras, image scanners, and pixelated detectors
• Applicable to visible, ultraviolet and infrared cameras

• Maximum efficiency of light collection in pixels on the micron scale
• Ease and simplicity of manufacture; low cost
• Reduces fabrication of lenses to a single step in the lithographic process
• Works well across the chromatic spectrum
• Greatly reduces cross-talk between adjacent pixels

Kenneth Goldberg of Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory has improved upon the current generation of microlenses in digital imaging, which imitate traditional lenses in both form and function. Dr. Goldberg has developed a series of new block designs that are both easy to fabricate and significantly more energy efficient.

Numerous applications in digital imaging pack millions of tiny light-collecting elements into a pixelated array. In some cases, micro-electronic devices and wires on the front surface of the detectors limit the area available for light-sensitive regions. A microlens situates a tiny individual light concentrator onto each detector element, aiming to direct as much light as possible onto the photo-detector elements, and away from insensitive regions. However, miniaturization complicates the physics of light propagation, and makes traditional designs highly inefficient.

The Berkeley Lab micro-scale light concentrators focus a much greater portion of the available light energy onto the detector elements (such as the pixels of a charge-coupled device). The designs minimize cross-talk into adjacent pixels, and can operate over a broad spectral range. In addition, the designs make it possible to streamline the fabrication process, using the very same lithographic technologies that produce the detectors and circuitry.

Inventor(s): Kenneth Goldberg

Type of Offer: Licensing

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