Quantum films set to replace CMOS image sensors

CIOL Bureau
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PORTLAND: Quantum films seem to be set to replace the conventional CMOS image sensors in digital cameras.


In quantum films, made from materials similar to conventional film – a polymer with embedded particles, instead of silver grains like photographic film – the embedded particles are quantum dots.

According to their inventors, InVisage Incorporated, quantum films can image scenes with more pixel resolution, by offering 4-times better sensitivity for ultra-high resolution sensors. Quantum films are cheaper to make, too.

Tom Hausken, director of photonics and compound semiconductors at Strategies Unlimited, based in Mountain View, California, the United States, said in a statement that many innovations which are said to be revolutionary are in fact incremental changes. In contrast, the quantum films made by InVisage Incorporated are “really revolutionary,” Hausken added.


The new semiconducting material was invented by Professor Ted Sargent, of the University of Toronto.

Prof. Sargent, who is now chief technology officer at InVisage, perfected a method of suspending lead-sulfide nanoparticles in a polymer matrix to form a new class of semiconducting polymer. Invisage spent the last 3 years integrating this semiconducting polymer into a standard CMOS process.

Now, Invisage claims it can paint quantum film atop a low-cost wafer that has the electrode array for super-dense, high-pixel-count images. At the same time, this is cheaper than the CMOS photodetectors, which constitute the bulk of conventional digital camera sensors.