Jacobs School of Engineering, UC San Diego

Photonic Systems Integration




Concentric Multi-Reflection Lenses for Ultra-Thin Cameras (aka Origami Optics)

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Most camera lenses refract light, leading to the familiar cylindrical package geometry. For some applications where extended focal length or reduced track length are required, concentric annular mirrors can be used to effectively reduce barrel length. Recent advances in diamond machining and image processing make it possible to take this approach to a new extreme. With up to 8 reflections, large ray angles, and a lens shaped more like a lens cap than a tube, concentric multi-reflection lenses (aka Origami Optics) allow us to squeeze long focal lengths into a thin package and still collect enough light for fast sharp exposures. Applications may range from compact imagers for micro-UAV surveillance craft to a miniature telephoto lens for future cell phones.

This research was supported by DARPA via the MONTAGE program, grant no HR0011-04-I-0045; and by the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) through a graduate student scholarship.

Project Members:
Eric Tremblay, Jason Karp and Joseph Ford (UCSD PSILab)
Ronald Stack and Rick Morrison (Distant Focus Corporation)

For more information on the camera prototypes click on the links below.

uh Four-Reflection Camera

whups Eight-Reflection Camera

whups "Arc-Sectioned" CMR Camera

uh Computationally Assisted CMR cameras



E. Tremblay, R. Stack, R. Morrison, J. Karp, and J. Ford, "Ultrathin four-reflection imager," Appl. Opt. 48, 343-354 (2009).

E. J. Tremblay, J. Rutkowski, I. Tamayo, P. E. X. Silverira, R. A. Stack, R. L. Morrison, M. A. Neifeld, Y. Fainman, and J. E. Ford, “Relaxing the alignment and fabrication tolerances of thin annular folded imaging systems using Wavefront Coding,” Applied Optics,Vol.46, No. 27 (accept for publication June 2007).

E. J. Tremblay, R. A. Stack, R. L. Morrison and J. E. Ford, “Ultra-Thin Cameras Using Annular Folded Optics,” Applied Optics, Vol. 46, No. 4 (February 2007), pp. 463-471.


J.E. Ford, E. Tremblay, and Y. Fainman, "Multiple Reflective Lenses and Lens Systems", filed



New Tech, SIGGRAPH 2008


Article in Popular Science

Video Segment for Discovery Canada's Daily Planet Television


Several other online articles can be found by searching for "origami optics