Gigajot Technology has introduced its first quanta image sensor (QIS), a new type of imaging sensor that features a low noise capability while accurate detecting individual photons in low light.
The QIS is capable of photon counting at room temperature while operating at full speed and achieving high dynamic range. It includes a 5 times to 10 times read noise improvement over conventional small pixel image sensors at low light levels not previously possible with traditional image sensors.
The QIS products could be used in imaging applications such as scientific, medical, defense, industrial and space. The 16 megapixel GJ01611 uses a 1.1 micron pixel to achieve room temperature 0.19 electron read noise and less than 0.09 electron/second/pixel dark current.
The second QIS device, the GJ00422, is a 4 megapixel sensor that employs a 2.20 micron pixel and provides 0.27 electronic read noise with single-exposure high dynamic range of 100 dB.
"The ability to do photon counting at room temperature is a game changer for our research efforts in astrophysics and quantum information science," said Dr. Don Figer, director of center for detectors and the future photon initiative in the College of Science, Rochester Institute of Technology.
The sensors are made from an advanced stacked CMOS backside-illuminated (BSI) sensor process technology that enables photon counting cameras to operate at high-speed and low-power. The single-exposure high dynamic range mitigates the motion artifacts that result from conventional multi-exposure HDR techniques.
According to research from Purdue University, QIS products are single-photon detectors designed for low light imaging conditions. Existing QIS prototypes are monochrome based on a single-photon avalanche diode (SPAD), however passive color imaging has not been demonstrated with single-photo detectors.