Some may wonder why active alignment is so important to camera module assembly….Well, the primary motivation for manufacturers to push their camera modules into the 21st century by making active alignment standard are recent industry developments such as increasingly thin cell phones, larger aperture cameras, stereoscopic cameras, and vision analysis requirements found in automotive camera applications.
While thinner cell phones can sometimes be outfitted with wafer-level cameras, those cameras are not guaranteed to be aligned correctly due to possible flaws in the wafers, such as a curve (smile) or misaligned sensor. In addition, these wafer-level cameras only work in extremely low mega-pixel resolutions. To make a high quality camera that is also thin enough for today’s leanest mobile phones, one must integrate cameras that have been actively aligned in five or six degrees of freedom.
The increased use of larger aperture cameras, to enhance performance in low light conditions, also pushes traditionally-assembled camera modules out of contention. Because the larger aperture lens results in a smaller depth of focus when combined with image sensors with increased resolution and smaller pixels, it is of the utmost importance that the light is properly channeled with a camera assembled using active alignment to garner a focused, high quality image. Similarly, the trend toward stereoscopic cameras also requires active alignment to best balance the performance of both camera channels appropriately to ensure that the correct tip-tilt angle and centration for each lens generates uniform focus and pointing.
Finally, in camera modules for vehicles, the camera must meet vision analysis requirements so that the vision system can perform object detection as accurately as possible. Because automotive cameras with machine vision will tell the driver what exactly is near the car, the clearest possible picture is required, and therefore active alignment for the camera module assembly is essential. Without it, camera manufacturers risk selling modules that produce blurry-edged image results.
Overwhelmingly, industry direction has driven camera modules toward more compact designs with higher megapixels and therefore higher quality images. Active alignment allows camera modules to be both compact and high quality – and now, with the Kasalis Pixid series, active alignment is available in the most advanced, cost-effective, and compact system on the market.