Bioinspired polarization imager with high dynamic range

Missael Garcia, Tyler Davis, Steven Blair, N. A.N. Cui, Viktor Gruev

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Polarization is one of the three fundamental properties of light, along with color and intensity, yet most vertebrate species, including humans, are blind with respect to this light modality. In contrast, many invertebrates, including insects, spiders, cephalopods, and stomatopods, have evolved to detect polarization information with high-dynamic-range photosensitive cells and utilize this information in visually guided behavior. In this paper, we present a high-dynamic-range polarization imaging sensor inspired by the visual system of the mantis shrimp. Our bioinspired imager achieves 140 dB dynamic range and 61 dB maximum signal-to-noise ratio across 384 × 288 pixels equipped with logarithmic photodiodes. Contrary to state-of-the-art active pixel sensors, where photodiodes in individual pixels operate in reverse bias mode and yield up to ∼60 dB dynamic range, our pixel has a logarithmic response by operating individual photodiodes in forward bias mode. This novel pixel circuitry is monolithically integrated with pixelated polarization filters composed of 250-nm-tall × 75-nm-wide aluminum nanowires to enable snapshot polarization imaging at 30 frames per second. This sensor can enable many automotive and remote sensing applications, where high-dynamic-range imaging augmented with polarization information can provide critical information during hazy or rainy conditions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1240-1246
Number of pages7
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 20 2018

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Atomic and Molecular Physics, and Optics


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