This could be the end of the megapixel war as we know it. The inventor of the CMOS sensor has announced his intention to produce a gigapixel sensor, which could detect single photons.
The aptly named Quanta Image Sensor (QIS) is the brainchild of Dartmouth professor Eric Fossum, who created the CMOS sensor in 1993. With a billion pixels, each pixel on the sensor would be able to detect single photons.
“In the QIS, the goal is to count every photon that strikes the image sensor, and to provide resolution of 1 billion or more specialized photoelements (called jots) per sensor,” reads the researcher’s webpage.
The process of capturing all of these photons happens quickly and requires incredible processing power—terabits of data are being read every second. And because the pixels themselves are so small, the size of the sensor would be similar to that of a modern-day CMOS sensor. In theory, the researchers hope it would be possible to swap out existing CMOS sensors for future QIS sensors.
This isn’t something we’ll see happening anytime soon, but don’t be surprised if we’re talking about gigapixel cameras by the time the next decade rolls around.
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