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Eric Fossum headshot

Eric R. Fossum

John H. Krehbiel Sr. Professor for Emerging Technologies


Professor Fossum, a Queen Elizabeth Prize Laureate, is one of the world's experts in solid-state image sensors. He invented the CMOS active pixel image sensor used in almost all cell-phone cameras, webcams, many digital-still cameras and in medical imaging, among other applications. He worked at the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory and was CEO of two successful high tech companies and is a serial entrepreneur, recently co-founding a new startup with two former PhD students, Gigajot. See his personal webpage for more information. His interests at Dartmouth are teaching and researching the next generation of solid-state image sensors for photon-counting and gigapixel cameras. He also directs Dartmouth’s PhD Innovation Programs and serves as Dartmouth’s Associate Provost for Entrepreneurship and Technology Transfer.


  • BS, Physics and Engineering, Trinity College 1979
  • MS, Engineering and Applied Science (AP), Yale University 1980
  • PhD, Engineering and Applied Science (EE), Yale University 1984

Research Interests

Solid-state image sensors (CCDs, CMOS active pixel sensors, Quanta Image Sensors); advanced imaging systems; on-chip image processing; new applications for image sensors

Selected Publications


  • Technology & Engineering Emmy® Award, 2021
  • Optical Society of America (OSA) & Society for Imaging Science & Technology (IS&T) Edwin H. Land Medal, 2020
  • Yale Science & Engineering Association Award for Advancement of Basic and Applied Science, 2018
  • Queen Elizabeth Prize for Engineering, 2017
  • Distinguished Eagle Scout Award, Boy Scouts of America, 2017
  • AAAS-Lemelson Invention Ambassador, 2016
  • Optical Society of America (OSA) Fellow, 2015
  • Society of Motion Picture & Television Engineers (SMPTE) Camera Origination and Imaging Medal, 2014
  • Yale University Wilbur Cross Medal, 2014
  • Doctor of Science, Honoris Causa, Trinity College, Hartford CT, 2014
  • National Academy of Engineering (NAE) Member, 2013
  • National Academy of Inventors® (NAI) Charter Fellow, 2012
  • National Inventors Hall of Fame, 2011
  • Inventor of the Year, New York Intellectual Property Law Association, 2010
  • IEEE Andrew S. Grove Award, 2009
  • Royal Photographic Society Progress Medal, 2004
  • Trinity College Alumni Achievement Award, 2004
  • Photographic Society of America Progress Medal for Outstanding Contribution to Photography, 2003
  • NASA/DoD Space Technology Hall of Fame, 1999
  • Fellow of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE), 1998
  • NASA Exceptional Achievement Medal, 1996
  • JPL Lew Allen Award for Excellence, 1992
  • Analog Devices Career Development Award, 1988-1990
  • National Science Foundation Presidential Young Investigator Award, 1986-1990
  • IBM Faculty Development Award, 1984-1985
  • Yale University Henry Prentiss Becton Prize for Excellence in Engineering and Applied Science, 1984

Professional Activities

  • Selection Board, National Inventors Hall of Fame
  • Board of Directors, National Academy of Inventors (2014–2018)
  • Founder and Past President, International Image Sensor Society (IISS)
  • Member, Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers (IEEE, Fellow)
  • Member, Optical Society of America (OSA, Fellow)
  • Member, Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers (SMPTE)
  • Trustee, Trinity College, Hartford, Connecticut


  • ENGG 321: Advanced Innovation and Entrepreneurship
  • ENGS 60: Introduction to Solid-State Electronic Devices
  • ENGM 187: Technology Innovation and Entrepreneurship
  • ENGG 300: Enterprise Experience Project


  • CMOS image sensor with pump gate and extremely high conversion gain | 10,319,776
  • Gateless reset for image sensor pixels | 10,283,539
  • Multi-junction pixel image sensor with dielectric reflector between photodetection layers | 10,163,968
  • Distance sensor and image processing system including the same | 9,762,890
  • Low full-well capacity image sensor with high sensitivity | 9,728,565
  • Depth pixel of three-dimensional image sensor and three-dimensional image sensor including the same | 9,232,163
  • Image sensor, operating method thereof, and device including the image sensor | 8,994,867
  • Image sensors | 8,976,277
  • Unit pixel, photo-detection device and method of measuring a distance using the same | 8,687,174
  • Image sensor using single photon jots and processor to create pixels | 8,648,287
  • Image sensors having multiple photoelectric conversion devices therein | 8,625,016
  • High sensitivity image sensors including a single electron field effect transistor and methods of operating the same | 8,546,901
  • Image sensor devices having dual-gated charge storage regions therein | 8,520,104
  • Photo detecting apparatus and unit pixel thereof | 8,513,709
  • Image sensor including noise removing unit, image pickup device having the image sensor, and image sensing method performed in the image sensor | 8,373,782
  • Three-dimensional image sensor | 8,300,088
  • Highly miniaturized, battery operated, digital wireless camera using programmable single chip active pixel sensor (APS) digital camera chip | 8,085,342
  • Vehicle vision system | 7,567,291
  • Alignment among elements in an image sensor | 7,351,945
  • Lens barrel | 7,345,827
  • In-pixel kTC noise suppression using circuit techniques | 7,326,904
  • Double sampling active pixel sensor with double sampling temperature sensor | 7,280,139
  • Methods of operating photodiode-type pixel and imager device | 7,209,173
  • Amplification with feedback capacitance for photodetector signals | 7,183,531
  • Frame shuttering scheme for increased frame rate | 7,092,021
  • High-low sensitivity pixel | 7,026,596
  • Three-side buttable CMOS image sensors | 7,009,646
  • Method of forming two-transistor pixel with buried reset channel | 6,984,537
  • High dynamic range cascaded integration cell and method of operation | 6,888,122
  • Technique for flagging oversaturated pixels | 6,873,363
  • Latched row logic for a rolling exposure snap | 6,847,398
  • CMOS integration sensor with fully differential column readout circuit for light adaptive imaging | 6,801,258
  • Low light sensor signal to noise improvement | 6,765,613
  • Two-transistor pixel with buried reset channel and method of formation | 6,744,084
  • Dynamic range extension for CMOS image sensor | 6,734,905
  • Multi-junction APS with dual simultaneous integration | 6,724,426
  • Interpolator for a CMOS sensor using a digital register | 6,704,049
  • Stitched circuits larger than the maximum reticle size in sub-micron process | 6,690,076
  • Photodiode-type pixel for global electronic shutter and reduced lag | 6,667,768
  • High speed digital to analog converter using multiple staggered successive approximation cells | 6,646,583
  • Frame shutter pixel with an isolated storage node | 6,624,456
  • Dead pixel correction by row/column substitution | 6,611,288
  • Digital exposure circuit for an image sensor | 6,609,745
  • Single chip active pixel sensor | 6,606,122
  • Wide dynamic range fusion using a lookup table | 6,584,235
  • Shared photodetector pixel image sensor | 6,552,322
  • Active pixel sensor with winner-take-all mode of operation | 6,515,702
  • Active pixel sensor array with electronic shuttering | 6,486,503
  • Center of mass detection with an active pixel sensor | 6,476,860
  • RAM line storage for fixed pattern noise correction | 6,473,124
  • Optical range finder | 6,452,666
  • Increasing pixel conversion gain in CMOS image sensors | 6,445,022
  • Backside illumination of CMOS image sensor | 6,429,036
  • Automatic dimming mirror using semiconductor light sensor with integral charge collection | 6,402,328
  • Semiconductor imaging sensor with on-chip encryption | 6,400,824
  • Active pixel sensor with fully depleted buried photoreceptor | 6,388,243
  • Vehicle equipment control with semiconductor light sensors | 6,379,013
  • Photodiode light sensor | 6,359,274
  • Active pixel image sensor using a pinned photodiode | 6,320,617
  • Moisture detecting system using semiconductor light sensor with integral charge collection | 6,313,457
  • Nonlinear flash analog to digital converter used in an active pixel system | 6,295,013
  • Lock-in pinned photodiode photodetector | 6,239,456
  • Pulse-controlled light emitting diode source | 6,222,172
  • Differential non-linearity correction scheme | 6,215,428
  • Active pixel image sensor with current mode readout | 6,194,696
  • Method and apparatus of high dynamic range image sensor with individual pixel reset | 6,175,383
  • Active pixel sensor with simple floating gate pixels | 6,166,768
  • CMOS image sensor with different pixel sizes for different colors | 6,137,100
  • Image sensor producing at least two integration times from each sensing pixel | 6,115,065
  • Delta-doped hybrid advanced detector for low energy particle detection | 6,107,619
  • Integrated infrared and visible image sensors | 6,107,618
  • Active pixel sensor having intra-pixel charge transfer with analog-to-digital converter | 6,021,172
  • Wide dynamic range optical sensor | 6,008,486
  • Quantum efficiency improvements in active pixel sensors | 6,005,619
  • Median filter with embedded analog-to-digital converter | 5,995,163
  • Active pixel sensors with substantially planarized color filtering elements | 5,990,506
  • Light-sensing array with wedge-like reflective optical concentrators | 5,952,645
  • Active pixel sensor with multiresolution readout | 5,949,483
  • Integrated sensor with frame memory and programmable resolution for light adaptive imaging | 5,909,026
  • Self-triggered X-ray sensor | 5,887,049
  • On-focal-plane analog to digital conversion for current-mode imaging devices | 5,886,659
  • Capacitively coupled successive approximation ultra low power analog to digital converter | 5,880,691
  • CMOS active pixel sensor type imaging system on a chip | 5,841,126
  • Successive approximation ADC for focal plane applications using balanced charge integrating amplifiers | 5,793,322
  • Solid-state image sensor with focal-plane digital photon-counting pixel array | 5,665,959
  • Digital parallel processor array for path planning | 5,548,773
  • CMOS active pixel image sensor | 5,471,515
  • Monolithic In-based III-V compound semiconductor focal plane array cell with single stage CCD output | 5,386,128
  • Method for producing a hybridization of detector array and integrated circuit for readout | 5,236,871
  • Trench-defined CCD structure | 5,055,900
  • Submicron dimension compound semiconductor fabrication using thermal etching | 4,920,069
  • Method of forming dielectric thin films on silicon by low energy ion beam bombardment | 4,776,925
  • Integrated fiber optic coupler for VHSIC/VLSI Interconnects | 4,744,623
  • Charge-coupled device differencer | 4,686,648


Gigajot Technology

Research Projects

  • Advanced image sensors and camera systems

    Advanced image sensors and camera systems

    Image sensors are found at the heart of every camera system and convert incoming light into electronic signals. We are investigating image sensors for next-generation camera systems. This work involves multi-disciplinary electronics research including photonics and optics, semiconductor devices, mixed-signal integrated circuits and VLSI, digital image signal processing, and electronics systems design. The major thrusts in our activity are as follows:

    • First, we are exploring the Quanta Image Sensor (QIS). The QIS is a revolutionary change in the way we collect images in a camera that is being invented at Dartmouth. In the QIS, the goal is to count every photon that strikes the image sensor, and to provide resolution of 1 billion or more specialized photoelements (called jots) per sensor, and to read out jot bit planes hundreds or thousands of times per second resulting in terabits/sec of data. The work involves design of deep-submicron jot devices, low-noise high-speed readout electronics, and novel ways of forming images from sequential jot bit planes at both the modeling and the simulation level and the characterization of actual devices and circuits. There is close collaboration with leading industry and scientific user communities.
    • Second, we are investigating the use of image sensors in medicine and the life sciences. Photon-counting X-ray image sensors are being explored with a major medical equipment company. Application of our photon-counting QIS technology to low light fluorescence lifetime imaging microscopy (FLIM) is also being explored.
    • Third, we are looking at innovative design and applications of CMOS image sensors to improving photography and scientific and industrial imaging, including low light and high speed applications. There are many avenues for innovation and invention and there is a high demand for image sensor specialists in industry.


The Krehbiel Professorship Lecture

National Inventors Hall of Fame pays tribute to Fossum's "Innovation Legacy"

Inventor of the CMOS sensor Eric Fossum speaks with KAUST Live

Engineering PhD Innovation Program at Dartmouth

Seminar: The Science and Technology of Digital Image Sensors


Tand T Guardian
A story of sensors
Dec 08, 2014