Toshiba is rumored to have filed a patent for a new type of image sensor, according to a Japanese blog. The new sensor is an alternative to the highly sensitive yet unstable RGBW type of chip.
Toshiba is a well-known image sensor maker. Its products have been added into multiple consumer cameras, while the company keeps on investing time and money into the development of future technologies.
This time, the company has just patented an interesting sensor. The technology is different than conventional Bayer arrays and it should offer better image quality in theory.
The new patent seems to solve the issue of the high sensitivity RGBW (Red-Green-Blue-Transparent) sub-pixels array. When the W (Transparent or sensitive to all wavelengths) sub-pixel is normally saturated, the RGB sub-pixels are underexposing. When the W sub-pixel is over-saturated, leaking light into the normally exposed RGB sub-pixels, the crosstalk phenomenon appears. To cut it shorter: the sensor is highly unstable.
Toshiba will use the new RGB-WG pattern (where WG stands for the one sub-pixel that is sensitive to a wider wavelength than green) to counteract the instability and boost the sensor’s sensitivity.
The WG sub-pixel actually replaces one of the green sub-pixels found in the usual Bayer image sensor. This means the sensor has higher sensitivity, without sub-pixel light leakage, thus less chances for crosstalk phenomenon to occur.
Toshiba wants to bring sensors that are more sensitive to light to the digital imaging market
The typical Bayer sub-pixel mosaic, found in most image sensors, has a RGGB (Red-Green-Green-Blue) pattern and was created by Eastman Kodak’s inventor, Bryce Bayer.
If the Toshiba array makes it to the market, then the company’s sensors will be more sensitive to light. As stated above, this could improve image quality and it could open up a world of possibilities for photographers.
This technology is based on an interesting idea that would change the way other companies design their sensors. If Toshiba manages to find that sweet spot between performance and costs, then it could revolutionize the sensor industry.
However, it still needs to be said that patents do not mean anything until companies announce something officially. Even after that, the technologies must become commercially viable, as stated above. There is a long way until then, so stay tuned to our website for more details, as we will reveal them as soon as we get them!