A team of researchers has developed a new image sensor type, which is 12 times more sensitive to colors than the human eye and which could have enormous implications in the digital imaging world.
Image sensors employed in today’s cameras are pretty good. Even the cheapest camera is capable of capturing amazing photos when it is placed in the right hands, which is why smartphones are eating up market share from entry-level compact cameras.
Either way, digital imaging advancements will not stop here. Researchers will not pack their bags and head home. Instead, they will actually work harder at developing the sensors that will be found in future cameras.
One example of what future may hold for photographers has been given by researchers at the University of Granada, Spain and Polytechnic University of Milan, Italy. This scientific team has developed a new sensor type that is said to be about 12 times more sensitive to color than the human eye.
Researchers reveal a new image sensor type that is 12x more sensitive than the human eye and conventional sensors
Although the human eye is a fantastic achievement of the evolutionary process, it is far from perfect and its capabilities can be overcome by technology.
Researchers in Spain and Italy want to reveal something that is a lot better than the human eye. The sensor is referred to as a “transverse field detector” and it actually consists of multiple layers, kind of like the Sigma Foveon sensor.
However, the TFD does not have filters like a regular sensor. Instead it is made out of a material that knows to tell the difference between colors depending how deep photons will penetrate it.
The transverse field detector has 36 layers, each corresponding to a distinct color, and it will determine what color a photon depicts by how deep it goes into the material.
The color spectrum of the TFD has 36 color channels, which means that it is 12 times more accurate at reproducing color than the human eye and regular image sensors.
Transverse Field Detectors could have enormous implications in multiple fields
Miguel Angel Martinez Domingo and his fellow researchers have confirmed that their Transverse Field Detectors will record the entire color details of the light in a scene.
Additionally, the sensor is said to be made out of silicon and to offer the possibility of fine-tuning how it will transform photons into electric signals. The colors will all be registered at the same time in the TFD, therefore it will reproduce the scene in an accurate manner, too.
This sounds very good in theory and, as a result, it is said to have major implications in satellite imagery, robotic vision, medical imaging, and defense technology among others. Since it is suited for all these industries, there is absolutely no reason why it could not make its way into the world of photography.
The full project can be found at Applied Optics