PetaPixel

What a DSLR’s CMOS Sensor Looks Like Under a Microscope

cmosmicrograph-1

Jack over at the astrophotography blog The Landingfield has published a series of photographs showing what a digital camera’s CMOS sensor looks like when viewed through a microscope. The sensor (seen above) was taken from a broken Nikon D2H — a DSLR from back in the early 2000s.

There are a number of challenges when it comes to photographing a sensor under a microscope. Jack writes,

Photographing an opaque sample compared to biological slice is extremely difficult, since ordinary trans-illumination will not work. An epi-illumination, de facto illuminating through the objective, should be used instead. Basically a half mirror is in place of the optical path to direct light towards the objective, then back in to the eyepiece and camera. Epi-fluorescence will use a dichroic mirror and a pair of filters.

Let’s begin zooming in!

Here’s what the sensor above looks like when viewed in color and at 10x magnification:

cmosmicrograph-2

Now we go into the world of monochrome images as we magnify the sensor to 40x. Here’s a close look at the sensor’s effective pixel array (the bright pixels are green while the darker ones are red and blue):

cmosmicrograph-3

As we move out toward the side of the sensor, we see what are known as optical black pixels and bare color filter arrays:

cmosmicrograph-4

Finally, at the very edge, we see the channels through which data travels off the sensor and into the camera:

cmosmicrograph-5

For a better understanding of what you’re seeing in the photos above, here’s a 4-minute video we shared a couple of years ago that offers a glimpse into how CMOS sensors work:

If the photographs above piqued your interest, be sure to head over to Jack’s full blog post below. There are more photos and a more technical description of what the images show.

Peeping into Pixel – A Micrograph of CMOS Sensor The Landingfieldvia The Digital Picture]


Image credits: Photographs by Jack/The Landingfield and used with permission


 
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  • Travis

    Interesting, I thought nikon didn’t adopt cmos into their dslrs until much later.

  • sshoihet

    It’s actually classified as a JFET (Junction Field Effect Transistor) sensor called LBCAST.

  • http://photokaz.com/ Mike

    The D1 was a CCD, and the D1H used the same sensor. The D2H used a Nikon developed CMOS. http://www.dpreview.com/reviews/nikond2h

  • nate parker

    By the way cmos stands for Complimentary Metal Oxide Semiconductor. (i just looked it up) :-)