30 Mar '12, 8pm
Image Sensors Enhance Camera Technologies
In the 1990s, a JPL team led by Eric Fossum researched ways of improving complementary metal-oxide semiconductor (CMOS) image sensors in order to significantly miniaturize cameras on interplanetary spacecraft yet maintain scientific image quality. An image sensor contains an array of photodetectors called pixels that collect single particles of light, or photons. (The word âpixelââshort for picture elementâwas first published in 1965 by JPL engineer Frederic Billingsley.) The photons entering the pixel are converted to electrons, forming an electrical signal a processor then assembles into a picture. CMOS sensors represented a number of appealing qualities for NASA compared to the charge coupled device (CCD), the prevalent image sensor at the time. Crafted by the same process used to build microprocessors and other semiconductor devices, the CMOS image sensors can ...