Emerging Technologies

LumiConSense: A Transparent, Flexible, Scalable, and Disposable Image Sensor Using Thin-Film Luminescent Concentrators

Most image sensors are planar, opaque, and inflexible. This demonstration presents a novel image sensor based on a luminescent concentrator (LC) film that absorbs light from a specific portion of the spectrum. The absorbed light is re-emitted at a lower frequency and transported to the edges of the LC by total internal reflection. The light transport is measured at the border of the film by line-scan cameras. With these measurements, images that are focused onto the LC surface can be reconstructed. Thus, the image sensor is fully transparent (no integrated circuits or other structures such as grids of optical fibers or photodiodes), flexible (makes curved sensor shapes possible), scalable (sensor size can be small to large at similar cost, and pixel size is not restricted to the size of the photodiodes), and potentially disposable (the sensing area is low-cost and can be replaced if damaged). By stacking multiple LC film layers, it enables a variety of information, such as color, dynamic range, spatial resolution, and defocus, to be sampled simultaneously.

Recent enhancements extend the sensor toward lensless multifocal imaging and depth estimation. In contrast to widely applied touch sensors that are mainly limited to planar shapes and interaction through direct touch, this approach has the potential to lead to new human-computer interfaces that are unconstrained in shape and sensing distance.

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Alexander Koppelhuber
Johannes Kepler Universität Linz

Philipp Wintersberger
Johannes Kepler Universität Linz

Clemens Birklbauer
Johannes Kepler Universität Linz

Oliver Bimber
Johannes Kepler Universität Linz