Image Sensors for Digital Cameras: Shedding Light on How They Work

Eric Fossum, Consultant, Samsung Semiconductor R&D Center

Friday, February 26, 2010, 3:30pm

Spanos Auditorium

This seminar is part of the Jones Seminars on Science, Technology, and Society series

This talk will introduce the CMOS active-pixel image sensor which is used in almost all cell phone cameras, most webcams, DSLR cameras, and many other areas such as high speed motion capture and biomedical imaging. The basic idea of solid-state image capture will be presented along with fundamental concepts such as noise sources and scaling issues. The architecture of the CMOS image sensor "camera-on-a-chip" will be discussed. A new idea for future "gigapixel" image capture based on photoelectron counting will be presented.

About the Speaker

Dr. Eric R. Fossum is the inventor of the CMOS active-pixel image sensor technology. He received his Ph.D. from Yale University and was a faculty member at Columbia University in NYC before joining the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena California. With colleagues from JPL, he founded Photobit Corporation where he served in several management roles including CEO. Photobit was acquired by Micron Technology, Inc. Dr. Fossum then served as CEO of Siimpel Corporation which developed and made MEMS-based autofocus actuators for cell phone cameras. He is presently a consultant for Samsung Electronics in Korea leading a team of researchers. During his years in technical and entrepreneurial management, he maintained an Adjunct Prof. position with USC and taught undergraduate and graduate EE courses and continued his own research projects. He serves on the executive committee of the International Image Sensor Workshop which he founded in 1986, and recently was Guest Editor-in-Chief of the Nov. 2009 IEEE Trans. on Electron Devices Special Issue on Solid-State Image Sensors. He has over 120 US patents and has published over 240 technical papers. He has received numerous awards for his work including the NASA Exceptional Achievement Medal, The Royal Photographic Society Progress Medal, and the 2009 IEEE Andrew S. Grove Award. He is a Fellow member of the IEEE and was inducted into the NASA/DoD Space Technology Hall of Fame. For more details including publications please see