Super Sensitive Sensor Sees What You Can’t


February 13, 2018

"A team of engineers at Dartmouth has invented a semiconductor chip that could someday give the camera in your phone the kind of vision even a superhero would envy," reports NPR.

"The new technology comes from Eric Fossum, a professor of engineering and his colleagues at Dartmouth's Thayer School of Engineering.

"This isn't the first imaging technology Fossum has worked on. Twenty-five years ago, while working at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, he invented CMOS image sensor technology.

"'There's about 4 billion cameras made every year with that CMOS image sensor technology,' Fossum says.

"The CMOS sensor chip turns light into electrical signals that can be processed to form digital images.

"Fossum calls his new technology QIS, for Quanta Image Sensor. Instead of pixels, QIS chips have what Fossum and his colleagues call 'jots.' Each jot can detect a single particle of light, called a photon.

"'What this chip can do because it's sensitive to single photons is it can see in the dimmest possible light,' Fossum says."

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