Fundamental Limits of Cell Phone Cameras

Chris Dainty

(Xperi FotoNation)

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Date: March 6, 2019


For the vast majority of people in the world, the best camera they have ever owned is in their current cell phone. Sales of phone camera modules approached $30 billion in 2018, almost three times the sales of all lasers, and will soon exceed four times the sales of all lasers. This is one of the most ubiquitous and successful optical devices ever. Fundamental laws of physics limit the performance of smartphone cameras, and these laws act against the marketing-driven aspiration for thinner and thinner camera modules. I shall show that the single most important optical parameter is the lens diameter D.

Further Information:

Chris Dainty is consultant with FotoNation in Galway, Ireland, and holds Emeritus Professor appointments at universities in the UK and Ireland. Throughout his career, he has investigated problems in optical imaging, scattering and propagation. In these areas, he has co-authored or edited six books (including “Image Science” co-authored with Rodney Shaw in 1974), >180 peer-reviewed papers and >300 conference presentations. He has graduated 65 PhD students and mentored >75 post-docs. He is a recipient of the International Commission for Optics Prize, IoP’s Thomas Young Medal and Prize, OSA’s C.E.K. Mees Medal and OSA’s Leadership Award. He is a fellow of The Optical Society, SPIE, The Institute of Physics, and the European Optical Society and a member of the Royal Irish Academy. He was President of The Optical Society (OSA) in 2011.

Created: Wednesday, March 6th, 2019