Quantum film to boost camera quality

Californian company Invisage says it will revolutionise the way mobile phone cameras are made with a new sensor technology.

Quantum Film uses a quantum dot technology to replace silicon in CMOS image sensors for the first time, allowing tiny cameras to capture up to four times as many pixels and twice the dynamic range or the current silicon-based sensors.

The company has spent three years investigating the quantum dot technology, which integrates with existing CMOS manufacturing technology, and could see pro level images coming from tiny mobiles devices before the end of 2010.

"It is becoming increasingly difficult and expensive to develop next-generation image sensors using silicon. Essentially, silicon has hit a wall," said Invisage boss Jess Lee. "The fundamental problem is that silicon cannot capture light efficiently, but until now it has been the only option. The disruptive nature of Quantum Film builds on silicon's success in electronics, and elevates its function using new materials that are engineered from the ground up for light capture."

Although the new sensor material will initially appear in mobile devices where size is the main issue, Quantum Film sensors are expected to make their way into proper cameras once they have found a foothold in the mobile market.