CMOS and CCD are the two types of camera image sensors that are leading the current market. But these types do not perform well in still photo cameras which are of small sizes, as you commonly find in mobile phones. A new technology announced by InVisage lately – known as QuantumFilm, offering quantum dot image sensors – may bring a new future for the camera image sensors.
The performance of an image sensor in a digital model is not only to calculate the amount of lighting coming into the lens, but also make the lighting conversion into an electrical signal, storing the signal and routing it to the image processor. Clearly, the space as well as the electrical power needs to be large for an image sensor to carry out its tasks.
However, mobile phone usually has image sensor with limited space. The different electronic parts included in a cell phone have blocked portions of the incoming light to the image sensor.
There is a quantum dots layer which has been released by InVisage. This layer can reply the sensor in some certain devices, commonly of small sizes, such as a mobile phone. This technology if called QuantumFilm.
In some devices, quantum dots have been used as semiconductor crystals which help carry out a task, for example, to measure the light. In some others, this technology can enhance the LED lighting color and supports the capability of LCD screens.
The operating way of this layer is different for that of a CMOS or CCD sensor. The quantum dot layer transfers the data on the light amount that is absorbed into an electrical field for the measurement of light.
It is estimated by InVisage that the absorbed light amount in a layer of quantum dots is as twice as the amount in a CCD or CMOS image sensor. If this is true, QuantumFilm will be very potential for replacing traditional image sensors in all digital cameras, not just limited to mobile phones. As it is common for any new technology, the price and the availability will eventually decide to the acceptance of users.
To reduce the costs for manufacturing quantum dots, InVisage has cooperated with Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company to use the current CMOS sensor manufacturing process to support manufacturing quantum dots. It is expected that some sample of this new type of sensor will be available soon in 2011, together with digital cameras as well phone cameras which apply this technology right after. This new technology is very potential and it may significantly change the operating way of digital camera and promised to bring high-resolution, point and shoot cameras into the market.