updated 04:25 pm EST, Wed December 21, 2011
Fujifilm wins patent for organic and CMOS sensors
Fujifilm has recently won a patent for a camera sensor that is unique in that it uses an organic material atop silicon circuits. This hybrid design outlines a carbon chemistry-based material and the paper detailing it was published back in 2009, DPReview learned. Compared to current CMOS and CCD sensors, this one substitutes silicon photodiodes with a photoelectric organic coating that converts light into electrons.
These electrons are then processed by CMOS circuits lying underneath. Fujifilm claims advantages such as a larger light-sensitive area as it covers the entire sensor, eschewing the need for small lenses to redirect light. The photosensitive layer also doesn't need to be divided into individual photosites. These could make them less expensive to produce as well. The organic material is also sensitive to infrared light, so a filter isn't needed.
What Fujifilm still needs to work on, however, is reducing noise, as it currently sits at 38 electrons RMS and needs to fall below five. A way to mass-produce the passive organic material layer also needs to developed.
Developing its own technology would also make Fujifilm reliant on no one but itself for advancements in the field, while CMOS sensors get more advanced thanks largely to advancement by multiple companies that adopted the same technology. As these sensors are also a few years away from commercialization, it remains to be seen if they retains any advantages compared to the future CMOS and CCD sensors that are currently in development.