Apple testing a new anti-reflective optical coating technology for future iPhone cameras

Apple's iPhone 16 Pro is rumored to be taking a significant leap forward in mobile photography. The tech giant is reportedly testing a new anti-reflective optical coating technology for its future iPhone cameras, aiming to enhance photo quality by reducing artifacts like lens flare and ghosting.

The key to this advancement lies in a process known as Atomic Layer Deposition (ALD). This technique involves depositing materials one atomic layer at a time onto a substrate, allowing for extremely precise control over thickness and composition. The application of ALD enables manufacturers to apply very thin layers of materials onto semiconductor devices, including camera components.

In terms of camera lenses, ALD can be used to apply anti-reflective coatings. These coatings can help to reduce photographic artifacts like streaks of light and halos that can occur in the final image when a bright light source, such as the sun, shines directly into the lens.

Moreover, ALD can also reduce ghosting, a type of image distortion where faint, secondary images appear in the photo, typically opposite a bright light source. This happens when light reflects back and forth between the surfaces of the lens elements and the camera sensor.

In addition to improving image quality, ALD-applied materials can protect against environmental damage to the camera lens system without affecting the sensor's ability to capture light effectively.

The Naver blog suggests that this manufacturing process will be applied to a "Pro model" in Apple's "next-generation" iPhone lineup. This could refer to one or both premium models in the iPhone 16 series. However, given the timing of the rumor, the possibility that this method is being tested for next year's iPhone 17 Pro models should not be discounted.

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