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.
Faculty contact: Eric R. Fossum