Kodak announces new image sensor technology

The new sensor design advances the existing Kodak technology that has become a standard in digital imaging, the company said. The “Bayer Pattern“, an arrangement of red, green and blue pixels, was first developed by Kodak scientist Dr. Bryce Bayer in 1976. In this design, half of the pixels on the sensor are used to collect green light, while the remaining pixels split evenly between sensitivity to red and blue. After exposure, software reconstructs a full color signal for each pixel in the final image.

Kodak’s new proprietary technology adds panchromatic, or “clear” pixels to the red, green and blue elements that form the image sensor array. Since these pixels are sensitive to all wavelengths of visible light, they collect a significantly higher proportion in the light striking the sensor. By matching these pixel arrangements with advanced software algorithms from Kodak, users will be able to experience an increase in photographic speed, directly improving performance when taking pictures under low light, the company said. Since the new technology enables faster shutter speeds, motion blur will be reduced and the design of smaller pixels will result in higher resolutions in a given optical format while the performance is retained.

Currently, Kodak is developing CMOS sensors using this technology for consumer markets such as digital cameras and camera phones. As the technology is appropriate for use with CCD and CMOS image sensors, it can be expanded across Kodak’s full portfolio of image sensors, including products targeted to applied imaging markets such as industrial and scientific imaging. The first Kodak sensor incorporating this technology is expected to be available for sampling in the first quarter of 2008. Kodak will work with a number of leading companies to implement the new sensor technology in system-wide solutions and to streamline the design-in process.