A team of engineers from Dartmouth’s Thayer School of Engineering has created new imaging technology which could enhance medical and scientific research, as well as security, photography, cinematography, and any other field relying on high quality, low lighting images.
Entitled the Quanta Image Sensor (QIS), the technology is being billed as the “next generation” of light sensing technology. Its co-inventor, Eric R. Fossum, is the professor of engineering at Dartmouth, and also invented the CMOS image sensor that can be found inside most cameras and smartphones today. Describing the new technology, he said it “enables highly sensitive, more easily manipulated and higher quality digital imaging than is currently available, even in low light situations.”
The new QIS technology possesses the ability to capture and count the lowest level of light – know as single photons – with resolution as high as one megapixel, and as fast as thousands of frames per second. What’s more, all of this can be done in low light, at room temperature, and while using mainstream image sensor technology. Previously, in order to produce the same results, large pixels and/or low temperatures were required.
So what does this actually mean for the industries who will benefit? For cinematographers, IMAX-quality video will be attainable in an “easily-editable format,” while retaining many of the same aspects of film. It will also help scientists, allowing them to capture better signals from faraway objects in space.
For further details, and some visual examples of the new technology in action, visit Phys.org.