That a projector has to be transported in a case will soon be a thing of the past. Nano-structured, microscopically small lens fields deliver extremely sharp images in perfect color worlds. The powerful prototypes were developed by the Fraunhofer Institute in Würzburg.
Besides the fact that the new devices do not need much space, the mini projectors have another big advantage: Whereas seminar rooms and lecture halls had to be darkened when using a projector, the mini projectors are bright enough even when used in sun-flooded rooms and generate a perfectly visible image.
The prototypes of the new projectors are made of a square with a size of 11×11 mm, 11 mm thin, which is illuminated by a powerful LED light. Marcel Sieler, physicist at the Fraunhofer Institute for Applied Optics and Precision Engineering IOF in Jena, explains how the technology works: “The image is already integrated into the micro optics — some 100 nano meters of small image points are stored on a chrome layer below the lens array. Such a micro array has some 250 micro lenses and below each one is a micro image. If all the images are projected simultaneously on the wall, a high-quality image is created with an extremely minimal projector”.
In the future, these ultra-thin micro optics will not only be used in projectors, but also in cameras. The researchers agree that the market potential is tremendous: The difference in quality is enormous, comparable to the difference between a standard T\/ and HDTV.