Sony sensor tech - Curved sensor?

Started Apr 3, 2014 | Discussions thread
sumx4182 Regular Member • Posts: 154
Re: Sony sensor tech - Curved sensor?

DrewE wrote:

sumx4182 wrote:

Roland Karlsson wrote:

Petroglyph wrote:

Today I was reading SAR about the new curved sensor technology Sony is announcing. This technology was suggested during a thread about how to improve lens performance I participated in last year either here or on the Sigma forum. Curved sensor has the potential to vastly improve lens edge performance and light gathering capabilities as well as making faster lenses relatively smaller. At the time we thought it would not be possible. It should really help with the short registration cameras. Ricoh uses a lot of Sony sensors so this could be quite a development.

Curved sensors needs no suggestions from any forum site.

Curved film have been used in many cheap cameras, e.g. the Holga.

It is much easier to make a lens if you have the freedom to bend the film/sensor plane.

Telescopes also have it.

Now, of course, if you have exchangeable lenses or zoom lenses, the curved detector plane is questionable. Which curvature to choose? All have to have the same. You are back to the limitations of flat sensor plane.

Unless the sensor curve was not fixed. If it was bendable like flexible LCD displays...the lens manufacturer could transmit data to the camera to tell it how much to curve, or even asymmetrically curve the sensor to produce the best image. This could allow lens manufacturer's to customize the curve to fit the inadequacies of their own lenses or possibly allow for micro-adjustments by the user to fix sample variation within lenses. It would also allow good lenses that already produce a flat image plane to not be ruined by a curved sensor.

Negatively though, it would also introduce more moving parts and more failure points. It might result in a larger sensor area/mirror box as well, but maybe not enough to be significant.

Presumably, a flexible sensor would only be able to curve variably in one dimension (presumably the long ways), which could lead to some rather interesting distortion patterns. This same limitation exists for film, too.

I think it would be a rather substantial engineering challenge to create a variably curving sensor that is sufficiently precise in its positioning across the curve to maintain a properly consistent focus plane across the frame.

Do you know what sort of a substrate these sensors are being made on? Even very thin silicon isn't a particularly flexible material, and is rather brittle, but perhaps it's sufficiently flexible for whatever applications they're looking at. (I think Sony is already making very, very thin sensors, as presumably BSI designs have a substantial backside grind done. I assume they get mounted on some sort of a supporting substrate for use, either as part of the final packaging or possibly in some step prior to that. Maybe they're attaching these BSI sensors to some flexible (polymer?) backing rather than another chunk of silicon or ceramic or whatever?)

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I'm merely thinking in hypotheticals. I assume if we can flex LCDs, we could eventually flex sensors as well. I was just throwing it out there in opposition to the people who think it would necessarily ruin how current lenses function or cause a whole new set of lens related issues. Playing devil's advocate if you will. I'm sure the first 10 attempts would be sh**, but if at some point they created a sensor with the flexibility to correct for individual lens flaws that were communicable via lens contacts or adjustable by the user with would definitely be a game changer. You could create lenses with less dependence on optical perfection and rely on the sensor for immediate correction when creating the image, rather than in post production which induces a whole new set of issues like softness/stretching when trying to correct distortion.

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