Biologically Inspired Artificial Compound Eyes

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This work presents the fabrication of biologically inspired artificial compound eyes. The artificial ommatidium, like that of an insect's compound eyes, consists of a refractive polymer microlens, a light-guiding polymer cone, and a self-aligned waveguide to collect light with a small angular acceptance. The ommatidia are omnidirectionally arranged along a hemispherical polymer dome such that they provide a wide field of view similar to that of a natural compound eye. The spherical configuration of the microlenses is accomplished by reconfigurable microtemplating, that is, polymer replication using the deformed elastomer membrane with microlens patterns. The formation of polymer waveguides self-aligned with microlenses is also realized by a self-writing process in a photosensitive polymer resin. The angular acceptance is directly measured by three-dimensional optical sectioning with a confocal microscope, and the detailed optical characteristics are studied in comparison with a natural compound eye.

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