Photons to Bits and Beyond — The Science and Technology of Digital Image Sensors

Eric R. Fossum, Thayer School of Engineering

Friday, October 21, 2011, 3:30pm

Spanos Auditorium

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

Digital cameras are now small and everywhere, from cell phones to iPads to webcams to pill cameras to automobiles to digital SLRs to Mars Rovers. The images from these cameras shape our culture on a daily basis, from Facebook and Skype to unforgettable images of the Japanese tsunami and the Arab Spring. This presentation will address the science and engineering technology behind capturing these images. Future technology directions will be discussed.

About the Speaker

Eric R. Fossum is Professor of Engineering in Dartmouth’s Thayer School of Engineering and a consultant to Samsung Electronics’ Semiconductor R&D Center.  One of the world’s leading solid-state image sensor device physicists, he has more than 130 US patents to his name. Fossum earned a Yale Ph.D. in 1984, then spent six years on Columbia University’s engineering faculty before joining the NASA Jet Propulsion Lab at Caltech, where he rose to the top technical rank of Senior Research Scientist. An entrepreneur as well as inventor, he served as CEO of two successful high-tech companies. He is best known for inventing the CMOS image sensor. Today, his “camera-on-a-chip” technology is used in nearly all camera phones and webcams, digital-still cameras, high-speed motion capture cameras, automotive cameras, dental x-ray cameras, and swallowable pill cameras.  In 2010, Fossum’s work was included on Reuters’ list of “Baby Boomer Inventions that Changed the World,” and in 2011, Forbes called him an inventor who has “changed your life.” Among his many other honors are Yale’s 1984 Becton Prize and the 1996 NASA Exceptional Achievement Medal. He was inducted into the US Space Foundation Technology Hall of Fame in 1999, and the National Inventors Hall of Fame in 2011.