Even the appearance on the market of smartphones with image sensors with dozens of megapixels can not be called a revolution. Rather, it is an evolution – an impressive development in its capabilities, which does not change the basic principles of creating light-sensitive image sensors. The revolution in this area is still ahead of us. Perhaps it will be brought closer by the efforts of SeeDevice, which has announced the development of an extremely sensitive image sensor working on new principles.
The image sensor proposed by SeeDevice is called PAT-PD (Photon Assisted Tunneling-Photo Detector). The PAT-PD sensor “practically eliminates photon leakage”, which promises to capture images in the visible area with minimal light. Below you can compare the image in 0.1 lux lighting conditions (moonless night) on a SLR camera with a 24.2 megapixel sensor and the PAT-PD sensor. The image from the latter is clearly better than the image from the “stock” camera.
But PAT-PD sensors can prove themselves not only as a tool for “pictures in the tool”. They offer a perspective both in the field of image sensors for autopilots and among medical sensors. PAT-PD sensors can be adjusted to a given wave of photon detection. For example, they can detect blood composition in blood vessels through the skin and detect cholesterol, glucose or other substances.
When will new image sensors be available? According to SeeDevice, this will happen next year. As a partner in preparing PAT-PD sensors for production, the Japanese factoryless company MegaChips Corporation is named. It has obtained a license from SeeDevice to manufacture a new type of sensor and is going to earn money from it. This gives hope that the promises will be fulfilled and the new technology will not fit into the dusty boxes of the inventors.