Engineers from Dartmouth's Thayer School of Engineering have produced a new imaging technology that may revolutionize medical and life sciences research, security, photography, cinematography and other applications that rely on high quality, low light imaging.
Called the Quanta Image Sensor, or QIS, this next generation of light sensing technology enables highly sensitive, more easily manipulated and higher quality digitalimagingthan is currently available, even in low light situations, according to co-inventor Eric R. Fossum, professor of engineering at Dartmouth. Fossum also invented the CMOS image sensor found in nearly all smartphones and cameras across the world today.
Documented in the Dec. 20 issue of The Optical Society's OSA Optica, the new QIS technology is able to reliably capture and count the lowest level of light, single photons, with resolution as high as one megapixel, or one million pixels, and as fast as thousands of frames per second. Plus, the QIS can accomplish this in low light, at room temperature and while using mainstream image sensor technology, according to the Optica article. Previous technology required large pixels or cooling to low temperatures or both.
What does this meanforindustry? For cinematographers, the QIS will enable IMAX-quality video in an easily edited digital format while still providing many of the same characteristics of film. For astrophysicists, the QIS will allow for the detection and capture of better signals from distant objects in space. And for life science researchers, the QIS will provide improved visualization of cells under a microscope, which is critical for determining the effectiveness of therapies.