Optomechanical System Development of the AWARE Gigapixel Scale Camera
Electronic focal plane arrays (FPA) such as CMOS and CCD sensors have dramatically improved to the point that digital cameras have essentially phased out film (except in very niche applications such as hobby photography and cinema). However, the traditional method of mating a single lens assembly to a single detector plane, as required for film cameras, is still the dominant design used in cameras today. The use of electronic sensors and their ability to capture digital signals that can be processed and manipulated post acquisition offers much more freedom of design at system levels and opens up many interesting possibilities for the next generation of computational imaging systems.
The AWARE gigapixel scale camera is one such computational imaging system. By utilizing a multiscale optical design, in which a large aperture objective lens is mated with an array of smaller, well corrected relay lenses, we are able to build an optically simple system that is capable of capturing gigapixel scale images via post acquisition stitching of the individual pictures from the array. Properly shaping the array of digital cameras allows us to form an effectively continuous focal surface using off the shelf (OTS) flat sensor technology.
This dissertation details developments and physical implementations of the AWARE system architecture. It illustrates the optomechanical design principles and system integration strategies we have developed through the course of the project by summarizing the results of the two design phases for AWARE: AWARE-2 and AWARE-10. These systems represent significant advancements in the pursuit of scalable, commercially viable snapshot gigapixel imaging systems and should serve as a foundation for future development of such systems.
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