Princeton and University of Washington researchers have created a small camera, with the size of a grain of salt that can record clear, full-colour images.
It is essentially a half-millimetre-wide circular with 1.6 million cylinders within. Each cylinder is engineered to bend light in precisely the appropriate way, allowing the array to form the optical wavefront as a whole. The data is then used by signal processing to create a picture. The majority of the hard work is done by post-processing algorithms, resulting in a high-quality image from the small camera.
Using the sensor, researchers were able to capture full-colour photos at a resolution of 720 × 720 pixels. The camera has a 40-degree field of vision and an f-number of 2.
This little camera is very simple to make and scale-up for mass manufacturing. Silicon nitride is used to make this. Deep UV lithography can be used to create surface nanostructures.
The small camera can be used to image the human body for medical purposes. It can also be utilised in a small robot with a higher-resolution camera. Researchers also stated that by lining a surface with thousands of these sensors, the technology may be used to transform anything into a camera.