Folge Micro_Tech_Lab auf Facebook Folge Micro_Tech_Lab auf Twitter change language  change language  520

Microscopic sensor shots with a Pi V.2.1 (Sony CMOS IMX219 Exmor Sensor) camera module for Raspberry

Sony CMOS IMX219 Exmor Sensor / camera module Raspberry Pi Mikroskopaufnahme

We disassembled the popular “Raspberry Pi Camera” camera module, which is available for around EUR 20, and took photos under the microscope. The computer serves as a value-for-money processor for playful experimentation and learning how to program – a real “create-your-own” computer. The retail version of the motherboard is the same size as a credit card. At 24 x 25 mm, the camera board is quite small, while the actual camera module and objective with fixed focal length has a width of only 8.5 mm, which is very narrow. This camera module uses a Sony CMOS IMX219 Exmor sensor, which is often found in starter smartphones.

Key features:

The objective can be unscrewed relatively easily, and underneath is the IR (infrared) blocking filter, which is contained in a plastic housing. The plastic housing is firmly glued to the camera board, but we had no difficulty removing it. The sensor uses what is known as a Bayer matrix, a colour filter (RGB) which usually has a pattern of 50% green, 25% red and 25% blue. This filter makes a colour camera out of a black-and-white camera. The sensor has a glass plate for extra protection.

Our goal was to remove the Bayer matrix layer and turn the colour camera into a black-and-white camera. During our attempts to uncover the sensor, despite taking very great care, we damaged the camera. When we tried again with a new camera, we got further, but it was a quite difficult process. Working under the microscope made it somewhat easier, but the structures are nevertheless very small.

Sony CMOS IMX219 Exmor Sensor / Detailaufnahme Mikroskop LM Adapter entfernen Bayer Matrix

Removing the Bayer matrix without destroying the camera module unfortunately proved impossible. The sensor sits just below the protective glass with the extremely sensitive tiny gold wires, which are thinner than human hairs and are very easy to break unintentionally. The Bayer matrix is applied to the image sensor in several layers and can be removed from the sensor. The images below were taken with a Zeiss microscope designed for the semiconductor industry. We attached a DSLR camera to the photo tube using an LM microscope adapter.

installation of a DSLR on a Zeiss photo tube wiht LM adapter solution

The photos were taken at magnifications between 40x and 200x:

Sony CMOS IMX219 Exmor Sensor / Bayer Matrix Schichten DSLR Sensor
Image in high resolution

The green areas show the sensor in its original condition. When the upper layers are removed, parts of the Bayer filter are uncovered.

Sony CMOS IMX219 Exmor Sensor / Detailaufnahme mit  Mikroskop, Kontaktierung Bayer Matrix
Image in high resolution

The wires are thinner than a hair. Below in detail:

Sony CMOS IMX219 Exmor Sensor / Detailaufnahme der Gold-Drähte hohe Vergrößerung

The colours of the filter are even marked on the board:

Sony CMOS IMX219 Exmor Sensor / Farben des Bayer-Filters: Rot, Blau, Grün - Farbkamera
Image in high resolution

The result: the photos of the stripped sensor are almost artistic – like a piece of modern art.

Sony CMOS IMX219 Exmor Sensor / Bayer Filter LM Mikroskopadapter Aufnahme
Image in high resolution