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. There are three major thrusts in our activity.
- First, we are exploring the Quanta Image Sensor (QIS). The QIS is a revolutionary change in the way we collect images in a camera. 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 exploring the application of 3-D image sensors to medicine. 3-D image sensors use time-of-flight imaging to collect range data from hundreds of thousands of pixels in a scene. We are working on improving the range resolution of such imaging systems at the sensor, camera, and signal processing level.
- Third, we are looking at innovative design and applications of CMOS image sensors to improving photography and scientific 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.
Faculty contact: Eric R. Fossum