Who

Medical, space, and scientific imaging; artificial and virtual reality; security and defense; automotive sensing; computer vision; and other applications relying on high-quality, low-light imaging.

What

Called the Quanta Image Sensor (QIS), this light sensing technology enables highly sensitive, more easily manipulated, and higher-quality digital imaging than is currently available, even in low-light situations. QIS technology reliably captures and counts the lowest level of light — single photons — with resolution as high as one megapixel (one million pixels) and as fast as thousands of frames per second. The QIS can accomplish this in low light, at room temperature, and while using mainstream image sensor technology. Previous technology required large pixels or cooling to low temperatures, or both. The sensor incorporates “Jots,” named for very small pixels that are sensitive enough to detect a single photon of light. A QIS may contain hundreds of millions to billions of jots. Innovative circuit design technologies are used to scan the jots at an ultra-high frame rate to capture every photon.

This is a sample photo taken with the 1-megapixel Quanta Image Sensor operating at 1,040 frames per second, with total power consumption as low as 17 mW. It is a binary, single-photon image, so if the pixel was hit by one or more photons, it is white; if not, it is black. An image in grayscale was created by summing up eight frames of binary images taken continuously. (Courtesy of Jiaju Ma)

When

The Quanta Image Sensor is being developed by Dartmouth College spinoff company, Gigajot Technology (www.gigajot.tech), for use in a number of applications.

Where

Dartmouth College, Thayer School of Engineering, Hanover, NH

Why

The QIS captures data from every single photon, enabling extremely high-quality, easily manipulated digital imaging, even in low-light conditions.

Contact Callaway Zuccarello at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.; 314-862-4300.

Tech Briefs Magazine

This article first appeared in the February, 2018 issue of Tech Briefs Magazine.

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