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Title:
CUSTOMIZED DEPTH OF FIELD OPTICAL SYSTEM AND COMPACT FAST LENS ARCHITECTURE
Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/2009/061519
Kind Code:
A1
Abstract:
A fixed optical unit (200) includes one or more fixed optical elements (202). The optical unit has a modulation transfer function (MTF), for a given object distance and a given spatial frequency associated with an imaging surface of an image sensor disposed at a selected distance from the fixed optical unit, which varies with object distance such that the MTF is at a maximum at a selected image distance, decreases from about the maximum MTF to below a predefined threshold value within a first range of positive focus shifts corresponding to image distances less than the selected object distance, and decreases from about the maximum MTF but remains above the predefined threshold value over a second range of negative focus shifts corresponding to image distances greater than the selected object distance. The second range of negative focus shifts is larger than the first range of positive focus shifts.

Inventors:
GOLDENBERG EPHRAIM (IL)
ENGELHARDT KAI (DE)
SHABTAY GAL (IL)
FELDMAN MICHAEL R (US)
COHEN NOY (IL)
DROR MICHA (IL)
RESHIDKO PAVEL (IL)
Application Number:
PCT/US2008/012670
Publication Date:
May 14, 2009
Filing Date:
November 07, 2008
Export Citation:
Click for automatic bibliography generation   Help
Assignee:
TESSERA TECH HUNGARY KFT (HU)
GOLDENBERG EPHRAIM (IL)
ENGELHARDT KAI (DE)
SHABTAY GAL (IL)
FELDMAN MICHAEL R (US)
COHEN NOY (IL)
DROR MICHA (IL)
RESHIDKO PAVEL (IL)
International Classes:
G02B9/12; G02B9/34; G02B13/00; G02B13/18
Domestic Patent References:
WO2007119971A12007-10-25
WO2007085658A12007-08-02
Foreign References:
US20050094292A12005-05-05
EP1602958A12005-12-07
US20060092528A12006-05-04
Other References:
None
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
RUSS, Lawrence, E. et al. (David Littenberg, Krumholz,& Mentlik, Llp,600 South Avenue Wes, Westfield NJ, US)
Download PDF:
Claims:
CLAIMS

1. A fixed optical unit including one or more fixed optical elements, said optical unit having a modulation transfer function (MTF) for a given object distance and a given spatial frequency associated with an imaging surface of an image sensor disposed at a selected distance from said fixed optical unit, the MTF varying with image distance such that the MTF is at a maximum at a selected image distance, decreases from about the maximum MTF to below a predefined threshold value within a first range of positive focus shifts corresponding to image distances less than the selected image distance, and decreases from about the maximum MTF but remains above the predefined threshold value over a second range of negative focus shifts corresponding to image distances greater than the selected image distance, said second range of negative focus shifts being larger than the first range of positive focus shifts.

2. A fixed optical unit as claimed in claim 1, wherein the predefined threshold value is about 0.1.

3. A fixed optical unit as claimed in claim 1, wherein the given spatial frequency is about one -half of the Nyquist frequency of the image sensor.

4. A fixed optical unit as claimed in claim 1, wherein the given spatial frequency is about one -quarter of the Nyquist frequency of the image sensor.

5. A fixed optical unit as claimed in claim 1, wherein the first range of positive focus shifts extends from the selected image distance to an image distance at which an object located at infinity is focused.

6. A fixed optical unit as claimed in claim 1, wherein the selected image distance is the hyperfocal distance .

7. A fixed optical unit as claimed in claim 6, wherein the second range of negative focus shifts extends from the selected image distance to at least one- fourth of the hyperfocal distance.

8. A fixed optical unit as claimed in claim 6, wherein the MTF is substantially constant within a particular portion of the second range of negative focus shifts, the largest negative focus shifts in the particular portion being at most one-fourth of the hyperfocal distance.

9. A fixed optical unit as claimed in claim 1, wherein the MTF is substantially constant within a particular portion of the second range of negative focus shifts, the largest negative focus shifts in the particular portion being at most a selected negative focus shift.

10. A fixed optical unit as claimed in claim 1, wherein the MTF has a value that approaches zero for positive focus shifts greater than 0.03 mm.

11. A fixed optical unit as claimed in claim 1, wherein one of the fixed optical elements includes a surface having a distortion therein.

12. A fixed optical unit as claimed in claim 11, wherein the distortion varies as a function of a radial distance R from the optical axis and an angle θ from the optical axis.

13. A fixed optical unit as claimed in claim 11, wherein the distortion varies according to the relation: f (R, θ) = a x (R 4 - R 16 ) , wherein R is a radial distance from the optical axis, and θ is an angle from the optical axis.

14. A fixed optical unit as claimed in claim 11, wherein the distortion varies according to the relation: f (R, θ) = a x R 2 x cos (θ) , wherein R is a radial distance from the optical axis, and θ is an angle from the optical axis.

15. A fixed optical unit as claimed in claim 11, further comprising a lens stop aperture, the surface having the distortion being nearest to said lens stop aperture .

16. fixed optical unit according to claim 1, wherein the MTF has a maximum value of 0.5, and the MTF is at most 0.25 at a -30 μm focal shift.

17. A fixed optical unit according to claim 1, wherein the MTF has a maximum value of at least 0.6, and the MTF is at most 0.25 at focus shifts more negative than -30 μm.

18. A fixed optical unit according to claim 1, wherein the F-number of said fixed optical unit is at most 2.4.

19. A fixed optical unit according to claim 18, wherein the F-number of said fixed optical unit is at least 1.9.

20. A fixed optical unit according to claim 18, wherein the F-number of said fixed optical unit is at least 1.75.

21. A fixed optical unit according to claim 1, wherein as a first sub-range of the first range of positive focus shifts and a second sub- range of the second range of negative focus shifts decrease, the first range of positive focus shifts and the second range of negative focus shifts increase, the first sub-range of the first range of positive focus shifts and the second sub-range of the second range of negative focus shifts being respective sub-ranges in which the MTF decreases from about the maximum MTF to a further predefined threshold value, the further predefined threshold value being greater than the predefined threshold value.

22. A fixed optical unit as claimed in claim 21, wherein the predefined threshold value is about 0.1 and the further predefined threshold value is about 0.3.

23. An imaging system, comprising: a fixed optical unit as claimed in claim 1, an image sensor defining the imaging surface, said image sensor being operable to generate raw data representing the light projected on the imaging surface by the optical element, and an image processor operable to process the raw data to enhance the MTF.

24. An imaging system according to claim 23, wherein said image processor is operable to enhance the MTF at focus shifts where the MTF is at most 0.25.

25. An imaging system according to claim 23, wherein said image processor is operable to enhance the MTF at focus shifts where the MTF is at least 0.125.

26. An imaging system according to claim 23, wherein said imaging system is a video graphics array (VGA) camera having a depth of field of between 15 cm and infinity, and said image processor is operable to enhance the MTF at image distances corresponding to object distances of 15 cm to 40 cm.

27. An imaging system according to claim 23, wherein said imaging system is a video graphics array (VGA) camera having depth of field of between 15 cm and infinity, and said image processor is operable to enhance the MTF at image distances corresponding to object distances of 30 cm to 50 cm.

28. A fixed optical unit including one or more fixed optical elements, said optical unit being characterized by a modulation transfer function (MTF) for a given location in object space and a given spatial frequency that is associated with an image plane disposed at a selected image distance from said fixed optical unit, the MTF varying asymmetrically with image distance such that the MTF is at a maximum at a first image distance, decreases from about the maximum MTF to at least a predefined threshold value between the first image distance and a second image distance representing a first focus shift from the first image distance, and decreases from about the maximum MTF but remains above the predefined threshold value between the first image distance and a third image distance representing a second focus shift from the first image distance, the first and second focus shifts being opposite in direction, and one of the first and second focus shifts being of greater magnitude than another of the first and second focus shifts .

29. A fixed optical unit as claimed in claim 28, wherein the predefined threshold value is about 0.1.

30. A fixed optical unit of claim 28, wherein the MTF decreases to substantially zero at the second image distance .

31. A lens system comprising the following, fixed sequentially in order from an object side to an image side along an optical axis : a first member of a coupled stop,- a first lens component; a second member of the coupled stop; a second lens component; and a third lens component; wherein all three object side lens surfaces and all three image side lens surfaces are aspheric, the first lens component including positive refractive power, with a surface of the first lens component facing the object side including a convex shape and a surface of the first lens component facing the image side including a concave shape near the optical axis, the second lens component including a meniscus shape and negative refractive power, with a surface of the second lens component facing the object side including a concave shape and a surface of the second lens component facing the image side including a convex shape , a surface of the third lens component facing the object side having a convex shape near the optical axis and a surface of the third lens component facing the image side having a concave shape near the optical axis, and a ratio of a total track length of the lens system to an image circle diameter being less than about 0.95.

32. The lens system of claim 31, wherein the lens is characterized by F/# of less than about 2.6.

33. The lens system of claim 31, wherein the lens is characterized by a field of view between about +/- 25 degrees and about +/- 40 degrees.

34. The lens system of claim 33, wherein the lens is characterized by a field of view between about +/- 30 degrees and about +/- 35 degrees.

35. The lens system of claim 34, wherein the lens is characterized by an F/# of about 2.4 and including a modulation transfer function (MTF) for a given object distance and a given spatial frequency associated with an image plane at an image distance from said lens system, the MTF varying with image distance such that the MTF is at a maximum value greater than about 0.4 at a selected first image distance corresponding to a hyperfocal distance and decreases from about the maximum MTF to a lower value that is greater than about 0.25 at a selected second image distance corresponding to an object distance of about 250 millimeters .

36. The lens system of claim 31 wherein all three lens components are made of plastic.

37. The lens system of claim 31 wherein the base curvatures of the surface of third lens component facing the object side and the surface of the third lens component facing the image side are substantially similar.

38. The lens system of claim 31 further comprising an aperture between the second and third lens components .

39. The lens system of claim 31, wherein the lens is characterized by F/# of about 2.4 and is further characterized by a total track length of less than about 4 millimeters and produces an image height greater than about 4.2 millimeters .

40. The lens system of claim 31, wherein the refractive index of all three lens components is within a range between about 1.5 and 1.65, the first and third lens components include an Abbe number between about 50 and 60, and the second lens component includes an Abbe number between about 20 and 30.

41. A lens system comprising the following, fixed sequentially in order from an object side to an image side along an optical axis: an aperture stop; a first lens component; a second lens component; a third lens component; and a fourth lens component; wherein all four object side lens surfaces and all four image side lens surfaces are aspheric, the first lens component including positive refractive power, with a surface of the first lens component facing the object side including a convex shape, the second lens component including a meniscus shape and negative refractive power, with a surface of the second lens component facing the object side including a concave shape and a surface of the second lens component facing the image side including a convex shape, a surface of the third and fourth lens components facing the object side having a convex shape near the optical axis and a surface of the third and fourth lens components facing the image side having a concave shape near the optical axis, the radii of curvature at the optical axis of the object size and image side of the third lens component being within about 40% of each other; and the lens system including an F/# less than about 2.8, a ratio of a total track length of the lens system to an image circle diameter being less than about 0.95 and a chromatic focal shift of the lens system is limited to below about 45 microns across the visible spectrum.

Description:

CUSTOMIZED DEPTH OF FIELD OPTICAL SYSTEM AND COMPACT FAST LENS ARCHITECTURE

CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATION

[0001] This application claims the benefit of United States Provisional Application Nos . 61/002,262 filed November 7, 2007, and 61/027,355, filed February 8, 2008, the disclosures of which are incorporated herein by- reference .

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

[0002] The present invention is directed to optical systems and, more specifically, to optical systems that are located at a fixed position within an imaging system and that provide a customized depth of field and particularly in imaging applications where compact size is needed while maintaining good optical quality.

[0003] In recent years, the popularity of digital cameras has continued to increase. This growth is especially true for cameras, camera modules, or other imaging devices intended for integration within other small devices such as phones or personal digital assistants (PDAs) . The use of digital image sensors such as a CCD or CMOS array has made the continuing miniaturization of these devices possible. Improvements in the image sensors has been ongoing and include providing smaller pixel sizes, greater numbers of pixels, smaller overall sensor areas, higher signal-to-noise ratios (SNR) , and lower costs. In most of these devices, an imaging lens system focuses the image onto the sensor. As sensor and pixel size have decreased, consequent improvements in the lenses have become necessary. [0004] The market for cameras has been driven largely by the number of pixels in an image sensor even if the quality of lenses used for focusing into these sensors has not improved as quickly. In an older imaging system, a lens would focus the image onto a relatively small number of

pixels with adequate quality. Assuming that in a newer imaging system with smaller pixels that the overall image sensor size remains the same, but the same lens system were used in the new system as in the older one, the resolution that might be detected by the newer sensor would be higher, but the resolving power of the lens system would remain the same. If this lens system was not originally designed with higher quality than necessary for the less dense sensor, there will be no improvement in the resulting image in spite of its higher native resolution, and in fact this has often been the case. Overall image quality may indeed be somewhat worse as smaller pixel sensors have relatively less light- sensitive area, and so gather less light than a similar sized sensor array with less pixel density and may give a noisier image. In most current applications, overall sensor size has decreased along with the pixel size, leading to yet more stringent requirements of the lens system. [0005] In many previous lens designs for compact cameras, a one- or two- lens system was acceptable to keep total camera size as small as possible. Image quality often suffered in these designs, as image degradation was expected from these cameras with relatively low pixel count. Over time, image quality has become a very important metric as the number of pixels in the image sensor has increased. Increased spatial resolution of the lens as well as proper correction of aberrations can noticeably improve image quality, but this has become very difficult to accomplish with lens systems incorporating only one or two lens components. Accordingly, use of lens systems with three or more lens components has become much more widespread. This has led to greater cost and complexity of the lens system, and commonly leads to a design that is not favorably compact, most especially in the direction of the optical axis as many potential applications are limited by the height of the total camera module which is heavily dependent on the lens system. In addition, as the area of the sensor

array has become smaller, the amount of light reaching the sensor generally is less. To compensate for this, often a lower F number (F/#) is used in a compact camera than would normally be used in a camera with a larger sensor or with less constraint on the size of the lenses. Generally, a lower F/# corresponds to a larger aperture for a given focal length. Although this improves the light-gathering capability and thus the SNR, it generally has adverse effects on the depth-of -field of the image, as well as exacerbating aberrations from the lens system. One tactic to improve image quality under these constraints is to include one or more aspheric surfaces in the lens system. Although cost and complexity of manufacturing of such a lens is likely * increased in these systems, the resulting improvement in image quality may be worthwhile. [0006] As the total track length (TTL) , that is, length along the optical axis, decreases, the overall camera size becomes thinner and may have a wider variety of applications. Although there is apparent use in very small portable devices, these cameras may also be used in other devices such as laptop computer cameras embedded in the screen, small security cameras, and others. Maintaining or even improving on image characteristics as the size of the camera shrinks is becoming increasingly important in the marketplace .

[0007] Also, in a conventional digital imaging system, light received by an optical system consisting of one or more lenses is directed onto an image plane at which an image sensor is located. The received light may be, for example, light reflected off of or light emitted by one or more objects located at various distances from the lens. The image sensor detects the image that is directed onto the image plane and generates raw data that may be processed by an image processor to produce an image that is available for storage or for viewing. In some systems, the raw image data may be stored and exported for later data processing. In

such conventional systems, however, only objects located within a small range of distances are acceptably focused onto the image plane for a given lens position, namely, for a given distance between the lens or lenses and the image plane. Objects located outside this range of objecε distances, which is known as the depth of field, may be directed onto the image plane but are not acceptably focused and appear blurred in the final image. As a result, some objects in the processed image may appear in focus whereas other objects in the processed image appear out of focus depending on the distance of each object from the lens. [0008] To focus objects located at other image distances using such conventional digital imaging systems, one or more lenses must be moved within the imaging system to change the focal length of the imaging system. However, such movement of the optics also causes objects that previously appeared in focus to now appear out -of focus. Thus, only a portion of the objects in an image will appear in focus regardless of lens position.

[0009] Recently, hand-held cellular telephones and various other devices have been introduced which incorporate a digital imaging system. Such devices often require the optical surfaces to remain at a fixed position within the imaging system, as it is not practical to include moving parts because of size and cost constraints, and thus their imaging systems have a fixed focal range. The fixed focus imaging systems that are used typically attain images having an acceptable sharpness for objects located at object distances greater than one-half of the hyperfocal distance, known as the standard working zone. For objects located closer than one-half of the hyperfocal distance, however, the image sharpness is not acceptable and worsens rapidly with decreasing object distance.

[0010] To enable the imaging systems in such devices to provide acceptable processed images over a wider range of object distances, a known approach is to modify the imaging

system by including a blurring optical surface that blurs the image directed onto the image plane. Because the optical properties of the blurring optical surface are known, the blurred image can be digitally processed to obtain an in focus processed image . The blurring and subsequent digital processing of the image allows for a wider range of object distances at which the processed image appears acceptably sharp, thereby extending the depth of field of the imaging system.

[0011] The presence of the blurring element, however, also blurs the directed images of objects located within the standard working zone. As a result, the sharpness of the processed images of such objects decreases.

[0012] It is therefore desirable to provide a fixed focus optical system which improves the image quality of objects located closer than one-half of the hyperfocal distance.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

[0013] In accordance with an aspect of the invention, a fixed optical unit includes one or more fixed optical elements. The optical unit has a modulation transfer function (MTF) for a given object distance and a given spatial frequency associated with an imaging surface of an image sensor disposed at a selected distance from said fixed optical unit that varies with image distance such that the MTF is at a maximum at a selected image distance, decreases from about the maximum MTF to below a predefined threshold value within a first range of positive focus shifts corresponding to image distances less than the selected image distance, and decreases from about the maximum MTF but remains above the predefined threshold value over a second range of negative focus shifts corresponding to image distances greater than the selected image distance The second range of negative focus shifts is larger than the first range of positive focus shifts.

[0014] Another imaging system according to the invention includes a fixed optical unit as described above, an image sensor that defines the imaging surface and which is operable to generate raw data representing the light projected on the imaging surface by the optical element, and an image processor operable to process the raw data to enhance the MTF.

[0015] In accordance with another aspect of the invention, a fixed optical unit includes one or more fixed optical elements. The optical unit is characterized by a modulation transfer function (MTF) for a given location in object space and a given spatial frequency that is associated with an image plane disposed at a selected image distance from the fixed optical unit. The MTF varies asymmetrically with image distance such that the MTF is at a maximum at a first image distance, decreases from about the maximum MTF to at least a predefined threshold value between the first image distance and a second image distance representing a first focus shift from the first image distance, and decreases from about the maximum MTF but remains above the predefined threshold value between the first image distance and a third image distance representing a second focus shift from the first image distance. The first and second focus shifts are opposite in direction. One of the first and second focus shifts is of greater magnitude than another of the first and second focus shifts.

[0016] In accordance with a further aspect of the invention, a lens system includes the following, fixed sequentially in order from an object side to an image side along an optical axis, a first member of a coupled stop, a first lens component, a second member of the coupled stop, a second lens component, and a third lens component, wherein all three object side lens surfaces and all three image side lens surfaces are aspheric, the first lens component including positive refractive power, with a surface of the first lens component facing the object side including a

convex shape and a surface of the first lens component facing the image side including a concave shape near the optical axis, the second lens component including a meniscus shape and negative refractive power, with a surface of the second lens component facing the object side including a concave shape and a surface of the second lens component facing the image side including a convex shape, a surface of the third lens component facing the object side having a convex shape near the optical axis and a surface of the third lens component facing the image side having a concave shape near the optical axis, and a ratio of a total track length of the lens system to an image circle diameter being less than about 0.95.

[0017] According to this aspect of the invention, the lens may be characterized by F/# of less than about 2.6. The lens may be characterized by a field of view between about +/- 25 degrees and about +/- 40 degrees. The lens may be characterized by a field of view between about +/- 30 degrees and about +/- 35 degrees. The may be characterized by an F/# of about 2.4 and may include a modulation transfer function (MTF) for a given object distance and a given spatial frequency associated with an image plane at an image distance from said lens system with the MTF varying with image distance such that the MTF is at a maximum value greater than about 0.4 at a selected first image distance corresponding to a hyperfocal distance and decreases from about the maximum MTF to a lower value that is greater than about 0.25 at a selected second image distance corresponding to an object distance of about 250 millimeters. All three lens components may be made of plastic . The base curvatures of the surface of third lens component may face the object side and the surface of the third lens component may face the image side are substantially similar. An aperture may be includes between the second and third lens components. The lens may be characterized by F/# of about 2.4 and is further characterized by a total track length of less than

about 4 millimeters and produces an image height greater than about 4.2 millimeters. The refractive index of all three lens components may be within a range between about 1.5 and 1.65, the first and third lens components may- include an Abbe number between about 50 and 60, and the second lens component may include an Abbe number between about 20 and 30.

[0018] The embodiments of the imaging lens system described herein are typically compact, especially as measured along the optical axis, and generally use few components or elements. This allows the lens system to be manufactured inexpensively and to be particularly suited for use in a camera module within small devices such as camera phones or PDAs . High optical performance is achieved by the use of all aspheric lens surfaces.

[0019] The foregoing aspects, features and advantages of the present invention will be further appreciated when considered with reference to the following detailed description and accompanying drawings.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

[0020] FIG. 1 is a block diagram illustrating an example of a known digital imaging system.

[0021] FIG. 2 is a graphical representation of an example of a through- focus modulation transfer function (TF-MTF) curve for an optical system having only a focusing element.

[0022] FIG. 3 is a ray diagram illustrating examples of the imaging of objects at various image distances for an optical system which includes a blurring element.

[0023] FIG. 4 is a graphical representation of an example of a TF-MTF curve for an optical system which includes a blurring element.

[0024] FIG. 5 is a graphical representation of an example of a through- focus modulation transfer function (TF-MTF)

curve for an optical system in accordance with the invention.

[0025] FIG. 6 is a block diagram illustrating an example of a digital imaging system in accordance with the invention.

[0026] FIG. 7 shows a cross -section of an embodiment of an exemplary lens system.

[0027] FIG. 8 shows a cross-section of an embodiment of an exemplary lens system that contains additional apertures. [0028] FIG. 9 illustrates the TTL/image circle ratio using a ray diagram of the embodiment of the lens system in FIG. 8.

[0029] FIG. 10 shows the distortion of the embodiment of the lens system in FIG. 8.

[0030] FIG. 11 shows relative illumination for the embodiment of the lens system in FIG. 8.

[0031] FIGS. 12A, 12B, 12C and 12D show the polychromatic MTF of the embodiment of the lens system in FIG. 8 at various object distances.

[0032] FIGS. 13A and 13B show the polychromatic through- focus MTF of the embodiment of the lens system in FIG. 8 at various field angles at a given spatial frequency. [0033] FIG. 14 shows a cross-section of an embodiment of an exemplary lens system.

[0034] FIG. 15 illustrates the TTL/image circle ratio using a ray diagram of the embodiment of the lens system in FIG. 14.

[0035] FIGS. 16A-C provide distortion performance of the embodiment of the lens system in FIG. 14; FIG. 16A shows the field curvature, FIG. 16B shows the distortion of the embodiment of the same lens system, and FIG. 16C shows the chromatic focal shift of the same lens system. [0036] FIG. 17 shows relative illumination for the embodiment of the lens system in FIG. 14. [0037] FIGS. 18A, 18B, and 18C show the polychromatic MTF

of the embodiment of the lens system in FIG. 14 at various object distances.

[0038] FIG. 19 shows the polychromatic through- focus MTF of the embodiment of the lens system in FIG. 14 at various field angles at a given spatial frequency.

[0039] FIG. 20 shows a cross-section of an embodiment of an exemplary lens system.

[0040] FIG. 21 illustrates the TTL/image circle ratio using a ray diagram of the embodiment of the lens system in FIG. 20.

[0041] FIGS. 22A-C provide distortion performance of the embodiment of the lens system in FIG. 20; FIG. 2OA shows the field curvature, FIG. 2OB shows the distortion of the embodiment of the same lens system, and FIG. 2OC shows the chromatic focal shift of the same lens system.

[0042] FIG. 23 shows relative illumination for the embodiment of the lens system in FIG. 20.

[0043] FIGS. 24A, 24B, and 24C show the polychromatic MTF of the embodiment of the lens system in FIG. 20 at various object distances.

[0044] FIG. 25 shows the polychromatic through- focus MTF of the embodiment of the lens system in FIG. 20 at various field angles at a given spatial frequency.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

[0045] FIG. 1 is a block diagram depicting an example of a known digital imaging system 100. The digital imaging system 100 includes an optical system 101, an image sensor 110, and an image processor 120.

[0046] The optical system 102 receives light that is reflected off of, or that is emitted by, an object O which is located at object distance OD from the optical system. The optical system includes an aperture 101 and several optical elements or optical surfaces 102, ..., 109. One or more of the optical surfaces 102, ... ,109, may include

positive power to provide a focusing function. Other optical surfaces 102, ..., 109 may include negative power or other functions, such as a blurring function. Other optical surfaces 102, ..., 109 may provide an additional function, such as correcting optical or chromatic aberrations. The optical surfaces 102, ..., 109 are depicted as convex lenses solely for illustrative purposes. The optical surfaces 102 , ...,109 may include other shapes, including for example concave, meniscus, and aspheric curvatures. Actually, each optical element may be a refractive element or maybe a diftractive element which, for example, may include one or more drop- in masks, circularly symmetric or circularly asymmetric phase masks, or circularly symmetric or circularly asymmetric aspheric lenses.

[0047] In the illustrated example, the image sensor 110 captures light directed by the optical system 101 at an image surface 112, converts the captured light into raw data representing the captured light, and delivers the raw data to the image processor 120. The image sensor may be, for example, a charge coupled device (CCD) or a CMOS digital image sensor.

[0048] The image processor 120 processes the raw data received from the image sensor 110 and generates a processed image that may be outputted to, for example, a memory device or a display device .

[0049] An object O is located at a given object distance OD from the optical system 101 and a focused image I is directed to a distance ID from the optical system 101. When the image surface 112 of the image sensor 110 is also located at distance ID from the optical system 101, the sharpest possible image is directed onto the image sensor 110. If the object 0 is moved nearer to or further from the optical system 101 but the position of the image surface does not change (or, conversely, if the image surface is moved but the object O remains at the same distance from the optical system 101) , the sharpness of the

projected image decreases. For a sufficiently small movement of the object 0 (or the image surface 112) , the sharpness of the image remains within an acceptable tolerance, namely, the image directed onto the image plane is of sufficient sharpness for the image processor to provide an acceptable processed image. The range of object distances within which the image sharpness remains within this tolerance is referred to as the depth of field. Similarly, the range of distances within which the image surface 112 may be moved while the image sharpness remains within tolerance is referred to as the depth of focus . [0050] FIG. 2 illustrates a through- focus modulation transfer function (TF-MTF) curve of the known optical system 101 and for an image sensor 110 located on-axis. The TF-MTF curve is shown for a given wavelength of light and will generally shift with a change in wavelength. The TF-MTF is an indicator of the image sharpness as a function of the distance between the image surface 112 and the optical system 101. Though the TF-MTF curve is shown as a function of focus shift, i.e., as a function of image distance, an analogous curve may be generated as a function of object distance .

[0051] The TF-MTF curve shown in FIG. 2 is essentially bell shaped and peaks at a selected object distance C where the lens is considered to be focused, i.e., where the focal shift is zero. For example, the optical system may be focused such that the selected object distance C is the hyperfocal distance. The value of the TF-MTF decreases for positive focus shifts, i.e., with increasing object distance or decreasing image distance, but remains above 0.3 at least for all object distances up to a selected object distance D. The value of the TF-MTF also decreases with decreasing focus shift, i.e., with decreasing object distance or increasing image distance, but remains above 0.3 for focus shifts corresponding to object distances greater than a selected object distance B. The TF-MTF then decreases more rapidly

with further decreasing focus shift such that its value is less than a minimum acceptable value at focus shifts corresponding to object distances greater than a selected object distance A. As an example, when the object distance C is the hyperfocal distance, the object distance D is typically +∞, the object distance B is typically one-half the hyperfocal distance, and the object distance A is typically one-quarter of the hyperfocal distance. Where MTF values fall below a predetermined threshold, image contrast is lost and generally not recoverable through postprocessing. For example, the minimum acceptable TF-MTF value may be 0.1, though greater or lesser values may be desirable for a given post-processing technique.

[0052] FIG. 3 illustrates the effect of the addition of a blurring function into the known optical system 111. Ordinarily, for a sharply- focused optical system 101 as in FIGS. 1 and 2, the object 02 located at object distance 0D2 is focused onto the image surface 112. Object 01, which is located outside of the depth of field at object distance ODl, is located further than object 02 from the optical system. Thus, the focusing optical surface forms an image Il at image distance IDl in front of the imaging plane. Object 03, which is located outside of the depth of field at object distance 0D3 , is nearer than object 02 to the optical system. The imaging surface thus forms an image 13 at image distance ID3 which would theoretically appear behind the imaging plane 112.

[0053] The effect of the blurring in optical system 111 causes each of the images II, 12, 13 to be stretched in its respective focal plane by varying the focal distance of the various rays emanating from each of the objects 01, 02, 03. The paths taken by the various rays emanating from object 02, for example, are changed by the blurring function such that some rays are now focused in front of the imaging plane and some rays are now focused behind the imaging plane, rather than all the rays being focused at the imaging

plane. Furthermore, the paths of the rays emanating from objects 01 and 03 are each similarly changed by the blurring optical surface so that some of the rays emanating from each of these objects are now focused at the imaging plane. Namely, the addition of the blurring surface widens the point spread function (PSF) of the optical system such that objects 01, 02, and 03 are each directed onto the imaging plane 112 as blurred images which, after the corresponding raw data is processed by the image processor, is restored to the images II, 12, and 13 shown in FIG. 1.

[0054] FIG. 4 illustrates a TF-MTF curve for the given wavelength of light for an on-axis image sensor when the blurring function is incorporated into the known optical system 111. The range of image distances at which the TF- MTF is above a minimum acceptable value (e.g., 0.1) increases, namely, the depth of focus of the optical system increases, so that the value of the TF-MTF is acceptable even at some object distances nearer than the selected object distance A. However, the value of the TF-MTF at object distances greater than the selected object distance B is less than that shown in FIG. 2 for the same range of object distances. As a result, the blurring optical surface reduces the sharpness of the images of objects located in the standard working zone, namely, the range of object distances shown in FIG. 2 where the TF-MTF is greater than 0.3.

[0055] To address the problem, embodiments disclosed herein provide an optical system which has a customized depth of field and which at least reduces the adverse effects present in the above-described known optical system. [0056] FIG. 5 illustrates an example of TF-MTF curve of an optical system in accordance with one embodiment and, particularly, for a given wavelength of light, for a given location in the field of view, such the center of the field of view, and for a given spatial frequency, such a spatial frequency of about one-half of the Nyquist frequency of the

image sensor or about one-quarter of the Nyquist frequency of the image sensor. For object distances between the object distances B and D, the TF-MTF curve is similar in shape to that shown in FIG. 2 for the same range of object distances. The value of the TF-MTF in this range of object distances is above threshold value 0.3 but is slightly less than that of FIG. 2 for the same region. Further, for object distances greater than the object distances D, the TF-MTF drops to near zero. Additionally, for object distances of between the object distances A and B, the TF- MTF only decreases to about 0.2. Moreover, for object distances less than the object distance A, the TF-MTF remains above 0.1 down to focus shifts of about —0.08 mm. The image sharpness of objects located nearer to the optical system is thus improved when compared to that produced by the TF-MTF curve shown in FIG. 2, and the image sharpness of objects located in the standard working zone is thus improved when compared to that of the curve shown in FIG. 4. As a result, the depth of field is customized to include distances nearer to the optical system without sacrificing sharpness in the standard working zone. [0057] FIG. 6 illustrates an example of an optical system 200 in which an optical system 202 includes an aperture 201 as well as up to six optical surfaces 204, ..., 209 that are designed to provide the TF-MTF curve shown in FIG. 5. The shapes of the optical elements 204, ..., 209 shown in FIG. 6 are only one example of an embodiment of an optical system in accordance with the invention. Other configuration of optical elements and apertures in accordance with the invention, including those which include some or all of the optical surfaces shown in FIG. 6, are also possible.

[0058] For the optical system 200 shown in FIG. 6, the optical design coefficients and the apertures of all optical surfaces along with the materials from which the lenses may be made are provided as follows in Tables 1 and 2:

TABLE 1

TABLE 2 (ZEMAX Asphere Coefficients & Types)

Surface 4 : EVENASPH Ll

Coeff on r 2 : 0

Coeff on r 4 : -0.077216559

Coeff on r 6 : -0.020297869

Coeff on r 8 : -1.0413125

Coeff on r 10 4.2187441

Coeff on r 12 -10.590479

Coeff on r 14 13.77347

Coeff on r 16 -7.9967838

Surface 5 : XASPHERE Maximum term : 10 Maximum rad ap : 1 Term on P to 2 : 0 Term on P to 4 : -0.1081705 Term on P to 6 : 0.03408349 Term on P to 8 : 0 . 20230368 Term on P to 10: 0 . 60575719 Term on P to 12 : 4.4746014 Term on P to 14 : -21.614628 Term on P to 16 : 71.427647 Term on P to 18: -143.84937 Term on P to 20: 105.82278

Surface 7 EVENASPH L2 Coeff on r 2 0 Coeff on r 4 -0.53871222 Coeff on r 6 0.63968284 Coeff on r 8 -1.3077832 Coeff on r 10 1.0157938 Coeff on r 12 -0.67345776 Coeff on r 14 -0.29809862 Coeff on r 16 1.2107708

Surface 8 EVENASPH Coeff on r 2 0 Coeff on r 4 -0.99253441 Coeff on r 6 2.4800494 Coeff on r 8 -5.6417944 Coeff on r 10 10.202669 Coeff on r 12 -12.827124 Coeff on r 14 10.025118 Coeff on r 16 -3.3867771

Surface 10 EVENASPH L3 Coeff on r 2 0 Coeff on r 4 -0.83916165 Coeff on r 6 0.91697952 Coeff on r 8 -0.80535528 Coeff on r 10 0.3857058 Coeff on r 12 -0.0094644632 Coeff on r 14 -0.051295144 Coeff on r 16 0.011531968

Surface 11 : EVENASPH Coeff on r 2 0 Coeff on r 4 -0.46591383 Coeff on r 6 0.31665229 Coeff on r 8 -0.15435987 Coeff on r 10 0.026034794 Coeff on r 12 0.0099374419 Coeff on r 14 -0.0052750473 Coeff on r 16 0.00068366932

[0059] Here, surface 0 corresponds to the object, Ll corresponds to the first lens, including surfaces 204,205, L2 corresponds to the second lens, including surfaces 206,207, L3 corresponds to the third lens, including surfaces 208,209, APS corresponds to the aperture stop 201, IRF corresponds to an IR filter 214, CG corresponds to a sensor cover glass 216, and IMG corresponds to the detector image plane 212. Of course, other configurations realizing a customized depth of focus may be achieved.

[0060] Plastic used to create the lenses may be any appropriate plastic, e.g., polycarbonates, such as E48R produced by Zeon Chemical Company, acrylic, PMMA, OKP4 from Osaka Gas Chemicals Co., Ltd in Japan, etc. While all of the lens materials in Table 1 are indicated as plastic, other suitable materials, e.g., glasses, may be used.

Additionally, each lens may be made of different materials in accordance with a desired performance thereof. The lenses may be made in accordance with any appropriate method for the selected material, e.g., injection molding, glass molding, replication, wafer level manufacturing, etc. Further, the IR filter 214 and cover glass 216 may be made of suitable IR filtering materials such as N-BK7 or D263T, available from SCHOTT North America, Inc. Elmsford, NY. [0061] The imaging system 200 also includes an image sensor 210 having an image plane 212 that may function in a manner similar to that of the image sensor 110 of FIG. 1. An image processor 220 is also provided and processes the raw data received from the image sensor 210 by deconvolving the point spread function (PSF) associated with the optical system 202 to attain a processed image. Using the optical system designed in accordance with this aspect of the invention, acceptably sharp processed images are attained at object distances less than the object distance A without appreciatively sacrificing the sharpness of processed images located within the standard working zone.

[0062] To attain optical surfaces that provide the TF-MTF curve shown in FIG. 5, a three-stage design scheme may be employed. A fixed focal length optical system is used as a starting design and includes optical surfaces that provide a desired focal length using a preferred size and materials. Next, the design of the optical system is modified to customize the depth of field. Specifically, a distortion is introduced on the sag of the optical surface located closest to the lens stop aperture. As an example, the distortion may be both a function of a radial distance R from the optical axis and a function of an angle θ from the optical axis. Such a function may have the relation: f (R, θ) = a x (R 4 - R 16 ) , or the relation: f (R, θ) = a x R 2 x cos (θ) .

When the depth of field is customized in a manner that provides an extended depth of field (EDOF) , the resulting optical system may have a TF-MTF curve similar to that shown in FIG. 4.

[0063] Thereafter, the optical surfaces are optimized according to predefined conditions so that the resulting optical system provides a TF-MTF curve as shown in FIG. 5. Imposed optimization conditions may include requiring the hyperfocal distance F to be located at the focal distance at which the TF-MTF curve has its maximum value. The optimization conditions may include requiring the TF-MTF curve to have respective predefined values at the selected object distances A, B and D. For example, the TF-MTF curve may be required to have respective predefined values when the selected object distance B is set at one-half of the hyperfocal distance, the selected object distance A at one- quarter of the hyperfocal distance, and/or the selected object distance D at an infinite object distance +∞ . The imposition of such conditions may be carried out by assigning different weights. A zero forcing algorithm may also be used to ensure that the TF-MTF decreases to substantially zero at positive focus shifts greater than a predetermined amount, such as +0.03 mm. Alternatively, the conditions of optimization may include having highest possible TF-MTF values at each of the selected object distances A, B and D with the additional constraint that the TF-MTF approaches zero at positive focus shifts above +0.03 mm. A further constraint may include requiring the TF-MTF to have a value of a least 0.1 in a range of object distances closer than the selected object distance A. Standard optimization programs may be used here. For example, iterative procedures may be implemented in conventionally known optics design programs such as ZEMAX or Code V.

[0064] According to another embodiment, a digital imaging system includes a fixed focus optical system that provides

the TF-MTF shown in FIG. 5 and which has two modes of operation, referred to as a "regular mode" and a "macro mode". For objects located at distances where the TF-MTF is above a threshold value, the imaging system operates in the regular mode in which the image processor operates in the standard manner described above. As an example, the regular mode may be used for objects located within a range of object distances at which the TF-MTF is above a predetermined value or at least 50% of the maximum TF-MTF value .

[0065] For objects located at distances for which the TF- MTF is below the threshold value, the macro mode is used in which the image processor boosts the TF-MTF of the image to increase its sharpness. As an example, the macro mode may be used in a range of focal shifts of between -20 microns to about -80 microns, i.e., between -0.02 to -0.08 mm. As FIG. 5 shows, the TF-MTF decreases in this range from about 0.25 at a focal shift of -20 microns to about .12 at a focal shift of -80 microns. In one implementation, these focus shifts may correspond to object distances of between 50 cm to 10 cm.

[0066] According to another embodiment, an optical system provides a TF-MTF similar to that shown in FIG. 5 but has a higher peak value. Because the area under the TF-MTF curve does not change with this modification, the resulting TF-MTF curve has a narrower peak around the maximum value so that the range of object distances in which the imaging system operates in the regular mode is reduced.

[0067] As a further alternative, a fixed focus optical system having a TF-MTF curve similar to that shown in FIG. 5 is provided but with an aperture having a reduced F-number. Typically, the apertures of the fixed optical systems used to produce the curves shown in FIGS. 2, 3, and 5 have an F-number of 2.8. By reducing the F-number to 2.4, for example, or to as low as 1.75, the sensitivity of the resulting imaging system is increased though the width of

the TF-MTF curve, i.e., the range of object distances at which the imaging system ordinarily operates, may decrease. [0068] As a still further alternative, the depth of field of the imaging system is customized to provide a reduced depth of field (RDOF) . Namely, the width of the standard working range (i.e., the range of focus shifts in which the TF-MTF curve has a value of at least 0.3) is reduced when compared the curve shown in FIG. 5 so that the range of focus shifts in which the TF-MTF curve remains greater than 0.1 increases. The imaging system may also operate in the two modes described above. Thus, though the depth of field is reduced, the overall sensitivity of the imaging system is increased.

[0069] As an example, a video graphics array (VGA) camera may be used in which the optical system is modified to provide a TF-MTF curve similar to that shown in FIG. 5 but having a higher and narrower peak. Though a conventional VGA camera has a standard working zone of object distances between 15 cm to infinity, the modified VGA camera operates in the regular mode at object distances from 40 cm to infinity with greater sensitivity than the conventional VGA camera. Additionally, the modified VGA camera operates in the macro mode for object distances between 15 cm to 40 cm. The boost in the TF-MTF in the macro mode provides greater sensitivity at these object distances than that provided by the conventional VGA camera.

[0070] As another alternative, the F-number of the aperture of the modified VGA camera may also be reduced in the manner described above to further boost the sensitivity of the VGA camera. Such a VGA camera may operate in the regular mode at object distances between 50 cm to infinity and operate in the macro mode at object distances of between 30 cm to 50 cm.

[0071] As yet another alternative, one or more of the above modifications may be implemented using a wafer level

camera. Such a wafer level camera may incorporate refractive and/or diffractive optical surfaces that are patterned and etched to provide the TF-MTF curve shown in FIG. 5 or one of the modifications thereof as described above .

[0072] FIG. 7 is a cross section view of an embodiment of a lens system of the present invention. In this embodiment, the object side is placed on the left-hand side, and three lens components are placed in order along an optical axis . On the image side of the lens components, a cover glass is displayed over the image sensor. An aperture is placed in front of the first lens element on the object side.

[0073] Definitions of the terms "lens element" and "lens component" that relate to the following detailed description will now be given. The term "lens element" is herein defined as a single transparent mass of refractive material having two opposed refracting surfaces, which surfaces are positioned at least generally transversely of the optical axis of the imaging lens. The term "lens component" is herein defined as (a) a single lens element spaced so far from any adjacent lens element that the spacing cannot be neglected in computing the image forming properties of the lens elements or (b) two or more lens elements that have their adjacent lens surfaces either in full overall contact or overall so close together that the spacings between adjacent lens surfaces of the different lens elements are so small that the spacings can be neglected in computing the image forming properties of the two or more lens elements. Thus, some lens elements may also be lens components. Therefore, the terms "lens element" and "lens component" should not be taken as mutually exclusive terms. In fact, the terms may frequently be used to describe a single lens element in accordance with part (a) above of the definition of a "lens component."

[0074] In accordance with the definitions of "lens component" and "lens element" above, in the embodiments of

the imaging lens system of the present invention described below, all lens elements may also be lens components. Thus, the present invention may variously be described in terms of lens elements or in terms of lens components.

[0075] In FIG. 7, an exemplary imaging device 302, here a camera, using the lens system of the present invention is displayed. Starting at the object side, arranged in order are first an aperture 304, lens element 306, lens element 308, lens element 310, an infrared filter 312, a cover glass 314 for the image sensor, and the image sensor 316. Aperture 304 and all three lens elements (306, 308,310) are radially symmetric around an optical axis 318. Aperture 304 is placed on the object side of lens element 306. In this position, total track length of the lens system can be kept smaller as well as enabling a larger F/# and minimizing ray angles reaching the image surface at the sensor. The first lens element from the object side, lens element 306, is of positive refractive power. Lens element 306 carries much of the optical power of the lens system. Surface 306a, the surface of lens element 306 closest to the object side, is of convex shape over the entire surface. The second surface 306b of lens element 306 on the image side has a concave shape near the optical axis that becomes slightly convex near the periphery of the lens . The second lens element from the object side, lens element 308, is of negative refractive power and generally has a meniscus shape. Lens element 308 is primarily used to correct color and other aberrations. Surface 308a, the surface of lens element 308 closest to the object side, is of concave shape. The second surface 308b of lens element 308 on the image side has a convex shape. The third lens element from the object side, lens element 310, has portions of both negative and positive refractive power, where the region near the optical axis has slight positive power, and regions toward the periphery are of negative power. Lens element 310 primarily acts as a field

corrector. Surface 310a, the surface of lens element 310 closest to the object side, comprises both convex and concave shapes, with a convex shape near the optical axis. The second surface 310b of lens element 310 on the image side also comprises both convex and concave shapes, with a concave shape near the optical axis. In one embodiment, the radii of curvature of the center of both surfaces on this lens element 310 are equal. Infrared filter surfaces 312a and 312b, as well as cover glass surfaces 314a and 314b are all substantially flat.

[0076] All six lens element surfaces described in the last paragraph are aspheres in shape, and may satisfy the following sag height equation, although other equations are commonly used in the art to describe the shape of aspherical lenses :

*Y') (Equation 1) where Z is the sag height (in mm) of a line drawn from a point on the aspheric lens surface at a radial distance, Y from the optical axis to the tangential plane of the aspheric surface vertex, C is the curvature of the aspheric lens surface near the optical axis, Y is the radial distance (in mm) from the optical axis, K is the conic constant, and Ai is the i th aspheric coefficient.

[0077] In this particular embodiment, each of lens elements 306, 308, and 310 are made of plastic material, although it is contemplated that optical glass may be used instead for one or more elements. Here, lens elements 306, 308, and 310 are made of plastic. In one embodiment, lens elements 306 and 310 are made of the same material having a refractive index of about 1.53 and an Abbe number of about 55.5 whereas lens 308 is made of a different material having a refractive index of about 1.63 and an Abbe number (dispersion characteristic) of about 23.3. These materials provide proper compensation for the lens design, although

other various commercially available materials of similar refractive index and Abbe number could be used in this design. In addition, the infrared filter 312 and sensor cover glass 314 have functional uses, but are not strictly- needed for equivalent optical behavior of the imaging device given proper focus positioning of the image plane, and thus it is envisioned that one or both could be removed in a different embodiment.

[0078] Table 3 lists data about the various surfaces of the imaging system shown in FIG. 7, and lists in order from the object side, the surface, radius of curvature of the surface, the distance along the optical axis 318 to the next surface, and the material used starting at that surface if one exists (specified by the index of refraction, n d and the Abbe number v d . In addition, other values of the system as a whole, such as the focal length, the F/#, the field of view angle, the TTL, and the total track length-to- image size or height or circle ratio (hereafter, TTL/image height ratio) are displayed. Note that although the distance between the aperture 304 and the first lens element surface 306a is negative, the aperture is nevertheless placed on the object side of lens element 306. The curvature of surface 306a is sufficiently high that the portion of surface 306a nearest the optical axis protrudes through the aperture.

TABLE 3

Lens Data for embodiment in FIG. 7, F/#: 2.4, f = 3.4 mm, FOV 33.4°, TTL 3.93 mm, TTL/image circle 0.88

[0079] Also note the (TTL/image size) ratio listed in Table 3. The image size is calculated from the chosen field of view. This particular design was optimized to image an image sensor with a rectangular array with a diagonal size of 4.48mm (i.e., a 3 megapixel sensor including a pixel size of 1.75 micron) . The same lens design may be used with a sensor having fewer pixels (e.g., 2 megapixels), and a similar 1.75 micron or slightly larger pixel pitch and achieve similar or improved performance. The image size must be as large as this so that all pixels are illuminated, but should not be much larger than this as this could cause poor contrast and a lower field of view of the camera. As is known to those with skill in the art, the (TTL/image size) ratio is normally greater than one; it is very challenging to go below this value without introducing unacceptable aberrations in the resultant image. (TTL/image size) < 0.90 is considered very aggressive. In this

embodiment, the (TTL/image size) = 0.88. As the image sensor sizes continue to shrink in a lateral direction, achieving a small (TTL/image size) ratio will enable an imaging device that is extremely thin along the optical axis .

[0080] Plastic used to create the lenses may be any appropriate plastic, e.g., polycarbonates, such as E48R produced by Zeon Chemical Company, OKP4 obtainable from the Osaka Gas Chemicals Co., Ltd in Japan, acrylic, PMMA, etc. While all of the lens materials in Table 3 are indicated as plastic, other suitable materials, e.g., glasses, may be used. Additionally, each lens may be made of different materials in accordance with a desired performance thereof. The lenses may be made in accordance with any appropriate method for the selected material, e.g., injection molding, glass molding, replication, wafer level manufacturing, etc: [0081] Table 4 lists aspheric coefficients for each aspheric surface according to Equation 1. Most commonly, the odd terms Ai = 0 when i is odd for an even aspherical surface, but in the case of surfaces 307 and 308 this is not the case. In addition, for the lens system, the following condition is also satisfied: fi/f < 0.8, where fi is the focal length of the first lens element 6, and f is the focal length of the entire lens system. The lens system of this embodiment fulfills this condition as fi/f * 0.65. This corresponds to a relatively high amount of optical power in the first lens element of the system. This is helpful to keep the TTL of the lens system small.

TABLE 4

Aspheric coefficients for the embodiment in FIG. 7 (ZEMAX Asphere Coefficients & Types)

[0082] The term "coupled aperture." will now be defined. In most all lens systems, the light passing through the system is controlled by a single aperture that limits the size of the bundle of rays that reach the image from any given point on the object. For well-corrected lens systems, the aperture thus limits the field of view of the lens by delineating the maximum angles of light allowable through the system. Aperture 304 in FIG. 7 contributes to this function. Because of the extremely compact and aggressively aspheric correction of the lens elements in FIG. 7, rays of light at higher field angles are less well-corrected and may have a larger point spread function toward the periphery than do rays with smaller field angles. The second aperture 322 after the first lens 306 contributes substantially to acting as a stop for the system as a whole, and thus impacts the F/# of the lens along with the first aperture. Thus, the first element 304 and second element 322 of the coupled aperture 319 each contribute to the stop function for the lens system 302. [0083] FIG. 8 is a cross sectional view of an alternative

embodiment. FIG. 8 displays an imaging device 320. The lens elements and their positioning in this embodiment are similar to those of the embodiment shown in FIG. 7. The main differences are the addition of a third aperture that is also radially symmetric about optical axis 318. This aperture 324 acts as a secondary aperture and is placed near the object side of the third lens element 310. Relative position of the lens elements with respect to each other and the image sensor has not changed in imaging device 320 as compared to imaging device 302, but in this embodiment the position of the third aperture is 0.14 mm after the image side of surface 308.

[0084] Although the third aperture 324 does block some of the light that would otherwise impinge on the image sensor, the amount of light passing through the system as a whole is only reduced marginally. Since the relative and overall illumination are only reduced slightly and the field of view is unchanged in the imaging device of FIG. 8 as compared to that of FIG. 7, this aperture cannot be defined as an aperture stop of the system. Nevertheless, there is an improvement in the quality of the image with the presence of the secondary aperture. Stray light running through the system will be reduced that might adversely affect the contrast of the image. These and other effects can be ameliorated by the inclusion of secondary apertures without significantly reducing the illumination.

[0085] FIG. 9 shows a simplified version of a cross- section of either the embodiments described above, additionally adding exemplary rays to show the imaging characteristics of the lens system. Also shown is the TTL and the image circle size.

[0086] FIG. 10 shows the distortion values at several wavelengths of the lens system of FIG. 8. As can be seen by one with skill in the art, even though the lens system is extremely compact, aberrations have been well compensated for.

[0087] FIG. 11 shows the relative illumination of light hitting the image sensor as a function of the Y height for the image device 2 of FIG. 7. A drop-off in the illumination toward the periphery of an image is normal for any lens system, and the curve shown here is typical of many similar camera modules. The relative illumination for the image device 20 of FIG. 8 is nearly identical to that of image device 2 and is not shown, however this further corroborates that a secondary aperture in the embodiment in FIG. 8 has only a small effect on light flux through the system.

[0088] As discussed above, a common metric used to measure spatial resolution of lenses is the MTF (modulation transfer function) , that roughly quantifies the resolvable contrast of a lens system at various spatial frequencies. MTF is often measured or calculated at different light wavelengths, object distances, and field angles. FIGS. 12A- D plot the polychromatic MTF of the embodiment of the lens system shown in FIG. 8 with object distances of 8 m, 1 m, 0.5 m, and 0.3 m, respectively. In each graph, each line represents the MTF from an object at the requisite distance at different field angles. At each object distance, the MTF at a given field angle tends to drop from a maximum at 1.0 (resolving at full contrast at a given spatial frequency) to lower values, indicating a general loss of ability to resolve finer and finer details, that is details with higher spatial frequency components. An MTF with shallower slopes will correspond to an image that seems more "in focus" compared to an image that has MTF values that drop off more steeply.

[0089] The MTF curves shown in FIGS. 12A-D are polychromatic MTF plots . By this it is meant that the MTF values several different wavelengths of light are calculated independently for the system and are then added together with a weighting factor and normalized so that the polychromatic MTF is still equal to one when the spatial

frequency is equal to zero. The wavelengths used to calculate FIGS. 12A-D and their corresponding weighting factors are listed in Table 5. Although nearly any combination of wavelengths and weighting factors could be used, it is common practice to choose a set of wavelengths that adequately span the desired image sensor range and have weighting factors that corresponds well to either the sensor wavelength response or possibly the wavelength response of the human eye. For example, in one embodiment, the weights in Table 5 may be made equal. In another embodiment, fewer wavelengths at about 486, 588, and 656nm may be given roughly equal weights to approximate a response in the visible spectrum. Other combinations apparent to one skilled in the art may be used.

TABLE 5 Wavelength and weights used to calculate polychromatic MTFs

[0090] This form of MTF data, while useful, does not always give intuitively obvious results in evaluating the quality of the lens system. Often MTF data is plotted in the form of a through- focus MTF graph. Instead of showing MTF vs. spatial frequency, MTF is plotted vs. the image distance with wavelength and spatial frequency fixed for a given curve. Image distance is defined as the distance away from the image plane of the system, and can be calculated from the object distance through the lens system. An exemplary through- focus MTF graph can be seen in FIG.13A. This is a polychromatic MTF with the same wavelengths and

weighting factors of Table 5. Image distance on the plot at z = 0 is normally chosen to correspond to the image focal plane where the object is at the hyperfocal distance; image distances to the right of the vertical axis correspond to objects farther from the lens than this distance and image distances to the left of the vertical axis correspond to closer objects.

[0091] FIGS. 13A and 13B are plotted for a number of different field angles for both tangential and sagittal rays at 71 cycles/mm spatial frequency. This frequency has been chosen to match the Nyquist/4 frequency (N/4) of one possible image sensor that could be used at the image plane, although the exact type of image sensor is not crucial to the present invention. For example, the lens design depicted in the current embodiment may be used with sensor having a pixel pitch of about 1.75 microns. The TF-MTF plot may be asymmetric about the vertical axis . When this plot is wide, especially to the left of the vertical axis indicating objects closer to the lens system than the hyperfocal distance, it indicates that the resolving power of the lens is better over a wider range of object distances, or in other words, the lens has a high depth of field.

[0092] The lens set embodiments disclosed herein and variants thereof may incorporate extended or customized depth of field technologies, such as those disclosed in commonly assigned pending U.S. Patent Applications Nos. 61/001,988, filed November 6, 2007, and 61/002,262, filed November 7, 2007, the contents of which are hereby incorporated by reference herein in their entirety. To that end, the lens architectures may produce a slightly blurry image with some longitudinal aberrations (including both diftractive and chromatic) that may be corrected using subsequent image processing, such as that disclosed in commonly assigned pending U.S. Patent Application No. 11/970427, filed January 7 2008, the contents of which

are hereby incorporated by reference herein in their entirety.

[0093] FIG. 13B plots the same data as seen in FIG. 13A, but with higher field angles having been removed for clarity.

[0094] FIG. 14 is a cross sectional view of an embodiment of a lens system of the present invention. In this embodiment, the lens system may be used with a 5 megapixel image sensor preferably having a 1.4 micron pixel size. A representative image sensor of this type may include 2592 horizontal pixels, a 3.6288 mm horizontal sensor width, 1944 vertical pixels, a 2.7216 mm vertical sensor width, and a 4.536 mm sensor diagonal or image circle. Alternatively, the lens system may be used with a 3 megapixel image sensor preferably having a 1.75 micron pixel size. A representative image sensor of this type may include 2048 horizontal pixels, a 3.584 mm horizontal sensor width, 1536 vertical pixels, a 2.688 mm vertical sensor width, and a 4.48 mm sensor diagonal or image circle. Thus, an image circle produced by the lens system should be at least as large as the sensor diagonal to minimize illumination and distortion defects.

[0095] In FIG. 14, an exemplary imaging device 400, here a camera, using the lens system of the present embodiment is displayed. Here, the object side is placed on the left-hand side, and four lens components are placed in order along an optical axis. On the image side of the lens components, a cover glass is disposed (not shown) over the image sensor. An aperture stop is placed in front of the first lens element on the object side. Starting at the object side, arranged in order are a first aperture 404, lens element 406, aperture 420, lens element 408, aperture 422, lens element 410, aperture 424, lens element 411, an infrared filter 412, and image sensor 416. All four apertures (404, 420, 422, and 424) and all four lens elements (406, 408, 410, 411) are radially symmetric around

an optical axis 418. The function of the latter three apertures 420, 422, 424 may be provided by a barrel (not shown) in which the lens elements 406, 408, 410, 411 are held.

[0096] The first lens element from the object side, lens element 406, is of positive refractive power. Lens element 406 carries much of the optical power of the lens system. Surface 406a, the surface of lens element 406 closest to the object side, is of convex shape over the entire surface. The second surface 406b of lens element 406 on the image side has a concave shape near the optical axis that becomes slightly convex near the periphery of the lens. The second lens element from the object side, lens element 408, is of negative refractive power and generally has a meniscus shape. Lens element 408 is primarily used to correct color and other aberrations. Surface 408a, the surface of lens element 408 closest to the object side, is of concave shape. The second surface 408b of lens element 408 on the image side has a convex shape. [0097] The third lens element from the object side, lens element 410, has portions of both negative and positive refractive power, where the region near the optical axis has slight positive power, and regions toward the periphery are of negative power. Lens element 410 primarily acts as a field corrector. Surface 410a, the surface of lens element 410 closest to the object side, comprises both convex and concave shapes, with a convex shape near the optical axis. The second surface 410b of lens element 410 on the image side also comprises both convex and concave shapes, with a concave shape near the optical axis. In one embodiment, the radii of curvature of the center of both surfaces on this lens element 410 are similar. For example, Table 6 below shows that the radii of curvature near the optical axis of both sides 410a, 410b of lens element 410 are within about 20% of each other. [0098] The fourth lens element from the object side, lens

element 411, has portions of both negative and positive refractive power, where the region near the optical axis has slight positive power, and regions toward the periphery are of negative power. Lens element 411 primarily acts as a further field corrector. Surface 411a, the surface of lens element 411 closest to the object side, comprises both convex and concave shapes, with a convex shape near the optical axis. The second surface 411b of lens element 411 on the image side also comprises both convex and concave shapes, with a concave shape near the optical axis. In one embodiment, the radii of curvature of the center of both surfaces on this lens element 411 are also similar. For example, Table 6 below shows that the radii of curvature near the optical axis of both sides 411a, 411b of lens element 411 are within about 20% of each other. Infrared filter surfaces 412a and 412b, as well as the cover glass surfaces (not shown), are all substantially flat. [0099] In this particular embodiment, each of lens elements 406, 408, 410, and 411 are made of plastic material, although it is contemplated that optical glass may be used instead for one or more elements. Here, lens elements 406, 408, 410, and 411 are made of plastic. In one embodiment, lens elements 406, 410 and 411 are made of the same materia which is preferably plastic having a refractive index of about 1.53 and an Abbe number of about 55.6, whereas lens 408 is made of a different material which is preferably plastic having a refractive index of about 1.63 and an Abbe number of about 23.3. Materials described above may provide suitable refractive index and dispersion values. In another embodiment, a material F52R from Zeon Chemical Company may be appropriate for this design. These materials provide proper compensation for the lens design, although other commercially available materials of similar refractive index and Abbe number could be used in their place. In addition, the infrared filter 412 and sensor cover glass (not shown) have functional uses, but are not

strictly needed for equivalent optical behavior of the imaging device given proper focus positioning of the image plane, and thus it is envisioned that one or both could be removed in a different embodiment. Different sensor packages and different camera modules may use discrete IR filters and cover glass elements, while others may combine these elements by, for example, applying an IR filter coating to one or more other surfaces (e.g., lenses or cover glass) . With the design and material choices provided, the total track length of the lens system can be kept smaller as well as enabling a lower F/# and minimizing ray angles reaching the image surface at the sensor.

[0100] For the optical system 400 shown in FIG. 14, the optical design coefficients and the apertures of all optical surfaces along with the materials from which the lenses may be made are provided as follows in Tables 6 and 7:

TABLE 6

Lens Data for embodiment in FIG. 14: F/# : 2 4 , f = 3.36 mm, FOV = 33.9 Deg. , TTL = 4.025 mm, TTL/image circle = 0.89

TABLE 7

Aspheric coefficients for the embodiment in FIG. 14 (ZEMAX Asphere Coefficients & Types)

Surface 4 : EVENASPH Ll-I

Coefficient on r 2: 0 Coefficient on r 4: 0.01755412 Coefficient on r 6 : -0.24990765 Coefficient on r 8 : 0.99962099 Coefficient on r 10: -2.5706254 Coefficient on r 12: 3.5064561 Coefficient on r 14 : -2.3184946 Coefficient on r 16: 0.50750775

Surface 5 : EVENASPH Ll -2 Coefficient on r 2 0 Coefficient on r 4 -0.078320524 Coefficient on r 6 0.18223338 Coefficient on r 8 -0.77782966 Coefficient on r 10 1.2698117 Coefficient on r 12 -1.1783685 Coefficient on r 14 -0.19092332 Coefficient on r 16 0.65412311

Surface 7 : EVENASPH L2-1 Coefficient on r 2 0 Coefficient on r 4 -0.55451917 Coefficient on r 6 1.4797853 Coefficient on r 8 -3.1235602 Coefficient on r 10 5.0556751 Coefficient on r 12 -5.6282698 Coefficient on r 14 3.4231714 Coefficient on r 16 -1.3329401

Surface 8 : EVENASPH L2-2 Coefficient on r 2 0 Coefficient on r 4 -0.37624954 Coefficient on r 6 0.95364156 Coefficient on r 8 -1.2916818 Coefficient on r 10 1.5377875 Coefficient on r 12 -1.1298586 Coefficient on r 14 0.420005 Coefficient on r 16 -0.069094566

Surface 10: EVENASPH L3-1 Coefficient on r 2 0 Coefficient on r 4 -0.20199958 Coefficient on r 6 0.21364158 Coefficient on r 8 -0.14237208 Coefficient on r 10 0.032064585 Coefficient on r 12 0.0089063259 Coefficient on r 14 -0.0042681554 Coefficient on r 16 0

Surface 11: EVENASPH L3-2 Coefficient on r 2 0 Coefficient on r 4 -0.10822594 Coefficient on r 6 0.05480811 Coefficient on r 8 -0.020184125 Coefficient on r 10 -3.9165013e-005 Coefficient on r 12 0.0015155828 Coefficient on r 14 -0.00024904519 Coefficient on r 16 0

Surface 13 : EVENASPH L4-1 Coefficient on r 2 0 Coefficient on r 4 -0.21062481 Coefficient on r 6 0.113695 Coefficient on r 8 -0.049980847 Coefficient on r 10 0.01758975 Coefficient on r 12 -0.0033762331 Coefficient on r 14 0.00026797659 Coefficient on r 16 -2.8232233e-006

Surface 14 EVENASPH L4-2

Coefficient on r 2 : 0

Coefficient on r 4 : -0.12818825

Coefficient on r 6 : 0.048556555

Coefficient on r 8 -0.011869546

Coefficient on r 10 -0.0015486492

Coefficient on r 12 0.0016135421

Coefficient on r 14 -0.00033617145

Coefficient on r 16 2.4819813e-005

[0101] FIG 15 shows a simplified version of a cross- section of the embodiment of FIG. 14, additionally adding exemplary rays to show the imaging characteristics of the lens system of FIG. 14.

[0102] FIG. 16A shows the field curvature and FIG. 16B shows the distortion values at several wavelengths of the lens system of FIG. 14. As can be seen by one with skill in the art, even though the lens system is extremely compact, aberrations have been well compensated for. Another performance advantage achieved by the present embodiment is improved color aberration performance. As discussed above, improved depth of field performance may be achieved through post -processing of image sensor data. Such processing may be more effective if chromatic focal shift is controlled as shown in FIG. 16C. The chromatic focal shift is limited to below 35 microns across the visible spectrum. A conventional lens design that uses plastic lenses typically exhibits chromatic focal shift in excess of 60 microns. As such, the aberrations (including both diftractive and chromatic) may be corrected using subsequent image processing, such as that disclosed in commonly assigned pending U.S. Patent Application No. 11/970427, filed January 7 2008.

[0103] FIG. 17 shows the relative illumination of light hitting the image sensor as a function of the Y height for the image device of FIG. 14. The curve shown here is

similar to that shown in FIG. 11 for the image device of FIG. 7 and is also typical of similar compact camera modules .

[0104] FIGS. 18A-C plot the polychromatic MTF performance of the embodiment of the lens system shown in FIG. 14 with object distances of I m, 0.5 m, and 0.3 m, respectively. In each graph, each line represents the MTF from an object at the requisite distance at different field angles. The wavelengths used to calculate FIGS. 18A-C and their corresponding weighting factors are listed above in Table 5. The horizontal axis in each of the plots of FIGS. 18A-C depict spatial frequency up to about Nyquist/4 (or about 179 cycles/mm for a 1.4 micron image sensor pixel size) . [0105] FIG. 19 shows a through- focus MTF graph for the lens system shown in FIG. 14 as plotted for a number of different field angles for both tangential and sagittal rays at Nyquist/2, or about 89 cycles/mm spatial frequency. Notably, this TF-MTF plot illustrates the same asymmetric nature described above. That is, despite a curvature peak at 0 mm focus shift, the area under the MTF curves on the left side of 0 mm is greater than the area under the MTF curves on the right side of 0 mm. To illustrate this, the MTF curves at a focus shift of about -0.04 mm are between about 0.2 and 0.3. By comparison, the MTF curves at a focus shift of about +0.04 mm are substantially below about 0.2. [0106] FIG. 20 is a cross sectional view of an embodiment of a lens system of the present invention. In this embodiment, the lens system may be used with a 5 megapixel image sensor preferably having a 1.75 micron pixel size. A representative image sensor of this type may include 2592 horizontal pixels, a 4.536 mm horizontal sensor width, 1944 vertical pixels, a 3.402 mm vertical sensor width, and a 5.67 mm sensor diagonal. Thus, an image circle produced by the lens system should be at least as large as the sensor diagonal to minimize illumination and distortion defects.

[0107] In FIG. 20, the object side is placed on the left- hand side, and four lens components are placed in order along an optical axis. On the image side of the lens components, a IR filter and a cover glass are disposed over the image sensor. An aperture is placed in front of the first lens element on the object side.

[0108] An exemplary imaging device 500, here a camera, using the lens system of the present embodiment is displayed. Starting at the object side, arranged in order are apertures (e.g., a baffle or sun shield) 504 and stop 520, lens element 506, lens element 508, lens element 510, aperture 522, lens element 511, infrared filter 512, cover glass 514 for the an image sensor, and the image sensor 516. The three apertures (504, 520, and 522) and all four lens elements (506, 508, 510, 511) are radially symmetric around an optical axis 518.

[0109] The first lens element from the object side, lens element 506, is of positive refractive power. Lens element 506 carries much of the optical power of the lens system. Surface 506a, the surface of lens element 506 closest to the object side, is of convex shape over the entire surface. The second surface 506b of lens element 506 on the image side has a slightly convex shape near the optical axis that becomes slightly more convex near the periphery of the lens. The second lens element from the object side, lens element 508, is of negative refractive power and generally has a meniscus shape. Lens element 508 is primarily used to correct color and other aberrations. Surface 508a, the surface of lens element 508 closest to the object side, is of concave shape. The second surface 508b of lens element 508 on the image side has a convex shape. [0110] The third lens element from the object side, lens element 510, has portions of both negative and positive refractive power, where the region near the optical axis has slight positive power, and regions toward the periphery are

of negative power. Lens element 510 primarily acts as a field corrector. Surface 510a, the surface of lens element 510 closest to the object side, comprises both convex and concave shapes, with a convex shape near the optical axis. The second surface 510b of lens element 510 on the image side also comprises both convex and concave shapes, with a concave shape near the optical axis. In one embodiment, the radii of curvature of the center of both surfaces on this lens element- 510 are similar. For example, Table 8 below shows that the radii of curvature near the optical axis of both sides 510a, 510b of lens element 510 are within about 26% of each other.

[0111] The fourth lens element from the object side, lens element 511, has portions of both negative and positive refractive power, where the region near the optical axis has slight positive power, and regions toward the periphery are of negative power. Lens element 511 primarily acts as a further field corrector. Surface 511a, the surface of lens element 511 closest to the object side, comprises both convex and concave shapes, with a convex shape near the optical axis. The second surface 511b of lens element 511 on the image side also comprises both convex and concave shapes, with a concave shape near the optical axis. In one embodiment, the radii of curvature of the center of both surfaces on this lens element 511 are similar. For example, Table 8 below shows that the radii of curvature near the optical axis of both sides 511a, 511b of lens element 511 are within about 38% of each other. Infrared filter surfaces 512a and 512b, as well as cover glass surfaces 514a and 514b are all substantially flat.

[0112] In this particular embodiment, each of lens elements 506, 508, 510, and 511 are made of plastic material, although it is contemplated that optical glass may be used instead for one or more elements. Here, lens elements 506, 508, 510, and 511 are made of plastic. In one embodiment, lens elements 506, 510 and 511 are made of the

same materia which is preferably a plastic having a refractive index of about 1.53 and an Abbe number of about 55.5, whereas lens 508 is made of a different material which is preferably plastic having a refractive index of about 1.63 and an Abbe number of about 23.3. Materials described above may provide suitable refractive index and dispersion values . These materials provide proper compensation for the lens design, although other commercially available materials of similar refractive index and Abbe number could be used in their placethis design. In addition, the infrared filter 512 and sensor cover glass 514 have functional uses, but are not strictly needed for equivalent optical behavior of the imaging device given proper focus positioning of the image plane, and thus it is envisioned that one or both could be removed or combined with other elements in a different embodiment. Apertures 504 and 520 are placed on the object side of lens element 506, and aperture 522 is located after the third lens 510. With the design and material choices provided,, total track length of the lens system can be kept smaller as well as enabling a smaller F/# and minimizing ray angles reaching the image surface at the sensor.

[0113] For the optical system 500 shown in FIG. 20, the optical design coefficients and the apertures of all optical surfaces along with the materials from which the lenses may be made are provided as follows in Tables 8 and 9:

TABLE 8

Lens Data for embodiment in FIG. 20: F/# = 2.7, f= 4.36 mm, FOV = 33.5 Deg. , TTL = 5.1366 mm, TTL/image circle = 0.91

TABLE 9

Aspheric coefficients for the embodiment in FIG. 20 (ZEMAX Asphere Coefficients & Types)

Surface 3 : EVENASPH Ll-I Coefficient on r 2 0 Coefficient on r 4 0.010445285 Coefficient on r 6 -0.1435908 Coefficient on r 8 0.36278309 Coefficient on r 10 -0.55813965 Coefficient on r 12 0.45480889 Coefficient on r 14 -0.19866811 Coefficient on r 16 0.036915479

Surface 4 : EVENASPH Ll -2 Coefficient on r 2 Coefficient on r 4 -0.05111637 Coefficient on r 6 0.041323066 Coefficient on r 8 -0.11734093 Coefficient on r 10 0.18904142 Coefficient on r 12 -0.2754392 Coefficient on r 14 0.15807234 Coefficient on r 16 -0.024527543

Surface 7 : EVENASPH L2-1 Coefficient on r 2 0 Coefficient on r 4 -0.29745896 Coefficient on r 6 0.53822314 Coefficient on r 8 -0.74952401 Coefficient on r 10 0.84067501 Coefficient on r 12 -0.66314443 Coefficient on r 14 0.2779385 Coefficient on r 16 -0.055118742

Surface 8 : EVENASPH L2-2 Coefficient on r 2 0 Coefficient on r 4 -0.20573231 Coefficient on r 6 0.34703455 Coefficient on r 8 -0.33074522 Coefficient on r 10 0.26132926 Coefficient on r 12 -0.12625039 Coefficient on r 14 0.030530952 Coefficient on r 16 -0.002890261

Surface 10: EVENASPH L3-1 Coefficient on r 2 0 Coefficient on r 4 -0.07859972 Coefficient on r 6 0.046457397 Coefficient on r 8 -0.022572101 Coefficient on r 10 0.0032960793 Coefficient on r 12 0.00072565275 Coefficient on r 14 -0.00024427788 Coefficient on r 16 0

Surface 11: EVENASPH L3-2 Coefficient on r 2 0 Coefficient on r 4 -0.042578797 Coefficient on r 6 0.011946277 Coefficient on r 8 -0.0038147491 Coefficient on r 10 9.1645611e-005 Coefficient on r 12 6.8872014e-005 Coefficient on r 14 1.1819371e-006 Coefficient on r 16 0

Surface 14 : EVENASPH L4-1 Coefficient on r 2 0 Coefficient on r 4 -0.095502465 Coefficient on r 6 0.026986956 Coefficient on r 8 -0.0016795543 Coefficient on r 10 -0.0010848808 Coefficient on r 12 0.00029372622 Coefficient on r 14 -2.2150283e-005 Coefficient on r 16 0

Surface 15: EVENASPH L4-2 Coefficient on r 2 0 Coefficient on r 4 -0.05460464 Coefficient on r 6 0.010955033 Coefficient on r 8 -0.0017250088 Coefficient on r 10 -6.6015575e-008 Coefficient on r 12 3.029008e-005 Coefficient on r 14 -2.264779e-006 Coefficient on r 16 0

[0114] FIG 21 shows a simplified version of a cross- section of the embodiment in FIG. 14, additionally adding exemplary rays to show the imaging characteristics of the lens system of FIG. 20.

[0115] FIG. 22A shows the field curvature and FIG. 22B shows the distortion values at several wavelengths of the lens system of FIG. 20. Also, the chromatic focal shift is limited to below about 45 microns.

[0116] FIG. 23 shows the relative illumination of light hitting the image sensor as a function of the Y height for the image device of FIG. 20. The curve shown here is similar to that shown in FIGS. 11 and 17 for the image devices of FIG. 7 and 14, respectively, and is also typical of many similar camera modules.

[0117] FIGS. 24A-C plot the polychromatic MTF performance

of the embodiment of the lens system shown in FIG. 20 with object distances of I m, 0.5 m, and 0.3 m, respectively. In each graph, each line represents the MTF from an object at the requisite distance at different field angles. The wavelengths used to calculate FIGS. 18A-C and their corresponding weighting factors are listed above in Table 5. The horizontal axis in each of the plots of FIGS. 18A-C depict spatial frequency up to about Nyquist/4 (or about 142 cycles/mm for a 1.75 micron image sensor pixel size) . [0118] FIG. 25 shows a through- focus MTF graph for the lens system shown in FIG. 20 as plotted for a number of different field angles for both tangential and sagittal rays at Nyquist/2, or about 71 cycles/mm spatial frequency. Notably, this TF-MTF plot illustrates the same asymmetric nature described above. That is, despite a curvature peak at 0 mm focus shift, the area under the MTF curves on the left side of 0 mm is greater than the area under the MTF curves on the right side of 0 mm. To illustrate this, the MTF curves at a focus shift of about -0.04 mm are between about 0.25 and 0.35. By comparison, the MTF curves at a focus shift of about +0.04 mm are substantially below about 0.3.

[0119] Although the invention herein has been described with reference to particular embodiments, it is to be understood that these embodiments are merely illustrative of the principles and applications of the present invention. It is therefore to be understood that numerous modifications may be made to the illustrative embodiments and that other arrangements may be devised without departing from the spirit and scope of the present invention as defined by the appended claims .