Editorial Feature

Graphene Sensors in 3D Cameras

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Graphene is a semimetal with impressive properties that has only recently begun to find its way into technological and digital applications.

It was discovered in its stable form by two Russian scientists, Professor Sir Andre Geim and Professor Sir Kostya Novoselov, at the University of Manchester. Since then, research around the material has erupted. A frenzy of studies have rapidly gained a thorough understanding of the material and its properties, which are impressive and have inspired many sectors to focus research into the various applications of graphene.

The material is unique in that it is thin and lightweight but incredibly strong, 200 times stronger than steel in fact. It is harder than diamond, yet flexible and conducts both heat and electricity very well. It is transparent whilst also being impermeable to gas. Because of these remarkable properties, graphene has been hinted to be to ready make waves in a number of industries, including aerospace, biomedical, electronics, energy and more.

Graphene-Based Light Detectors

Recently, it was announced that graphene-based light detectors had been developed which could improve 3D cameras. Currently, 3D cameras face a number of challenges, such as achieving better resolution or a greater depth of field. These new cameras that utilize graphene are predicted to resolve these issues.

In conventional 3D cameras, light can enter the camera from different directions, encoding the spatial information that is reconstructed into 3D images. 3D images that are constructed from traditional recording methods require multiple shots to recreate how the light is emitted from different angles in order to form the image. Whereas current one-shot 3D cameras divert the light after it’s focused by the main lens with a micro-lens array.

With this micro-lens array, the directional information from the rays of light is recovered, and the software within the camera can reconstruct the image with the depth information included.

3D Camera with Graphene Sensors

Graphene has now been incorporated in to replace the micro-lens array. The University of Michigan has received $1.2 million in funds from the W.M Keck Foundation to develop a 3D camera with graphene. Scientists at Michigan are creating a series of transparent light detectors that will record light as it passes through. This method will acquire more information about the scene being recorded, without losing resolution.

Objects at different distances will come into focus in the camera at different points. The method will also benefit the speed at which the images can be processed, as when in focus the images will appear at their brightest, making it simpler for the computer to reconstruct.

Scientists are looking to graphene to build these transparent light detectors. The material has been selected as it is highly sensitive to light, allowing most of the light to pass through and resulting in a clearer picture. At first, an SLR-sized camera will be built with these graphene light detectors, which will be smaller than current 3D cameras but more powerful. However, it is also theorized that at some point it will be possible to extend the technology so that it can be implemented within smartphones.

New Developments Can Revolutionize the 3D Movie Industry

The graphene 3D camera will be a game changer, removing the need to film scenes from multiple angles in order to reconstruct a 3D image, all of this will be replaced with just one camera which gives a higher resolution and processes the images in super quick time. These developments are set to have a significant impact on the 3D movie industry as well as gaming and virtual reality.


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Sarah Moore

Written by

Sarah Moore

After studying Psychology and then Neuroscience, Sarah quickly found her enjoyment for researching and writing research papers; turning to a passion to connect ideas with people through writing.


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