- QUEBEC -- Quebec researchers
have created a new lens they say could revolutionize photography by allowing
the smallest cameras to take crystal-clear zoom photos.
- The new lens, one-fifth as thick as a sheet of paper,
can zoom and focus with no moving parts, potentially eliminating the distortion
caused by digital zoom and the bulky glass of conventional optical lens.
- Tigran Galstian, an engineer and physicist at Laval University
who has patented the new lens, says his invention could drastically improve
the blurry photos taken by small cameras.
- Dr. Galstian said the lens would work in cellphone cameras
that take notoriously poor quality images.
- "We have found an elegant and simple solution,"
said Dr. Galstian, who is now looking for an industrial partner to help
build a prototype and overcome remaining technical hurdles.
- "Right now we're guessing what industry needs and
we'd love to work with them on what they really want."
- Fred Greenslade, a sports and wildlife photographer in
Portage la Prairie, Man., is intrigued by the invention.
- Like most professional photographers, Mr. Greenslade
carries several heavy lens on most assignments and must switch constantly
for different conditions.
- "It sounds like something a photographer would dream
up," said Mr. Greenslade.
- "I'll believe it when I see it but it sounds great.
I guess I'd have a few questions. Is it going to work? How fast will it
be? What's the quality going to be?
- "But it sounds, in theory, like the best thing to
- Dr. Galstian's lens adds a light-sensitive compound to
a thin sheet of liquid crystals, eliminating the need for the finely ground
glass of conventional photographic equipment.
- When the sheet is zapped with a laser beam, the centre
becomes denser than the edges of the lens.
- Small jolts of electricity change the material in the
lens to bend light and adjust focus and zoom.
- Conventional photographic lens move two pieces of curved
glass to zoom or focus, requiring bulky lens for top quality close-ups.
- Many small digital cameras zoom with computer processors,
losing a lot of picture quality in the process.
- Dr. Galstian and associate Vladimir Presnyakov published
their research in the current edition of the Journal of Applied Physics.
- The lens could eventually be adapted for super-lightweight
eyeglasses that could be adjusted for focal length, eliminating the need
for bi-focals, Dr. Galstian said.
- "In the short-term, we are focusing on cellphones
but in the long term we think there could be many uses," Dr. Galstian
- Dr. Galstian said researchers in France are working on
a "competing technology" that uses electricity and a liquid droplet.
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