New Camera Sensor 1000x More Sensitive Than Current Sensors

NTU Graphene Sensor 1

Researchers at the Nanyang Technological University in Singapore have developed a graphene image sensor one thousand times more sensitive to anything available on the market today. The sensor is capable of detecting broad spectrum light, making it a great solution for all types of cameras. Its uses could include traffic cameras, infrared cameras, and so forth.

The sensor is able to produce clearer images than image sensors in use today, particularly in low-light situations, thanks to the fact it’s able to trap light-generated electrons for longer times than current sensors. In addition, the sensor operates at a low voltage, effectively using 10 times less energy than today’s sensors. Mass produced, they could also be cheaper than sensors today.

“We have shown that it is now possible to create cheap, sensitive and flexible photo sensors from graphene alone. We expect our innovation will have great impact not only on the consumer imaging industry, but also in satellite imaging and communication industries, as well as the mid-infrared applications,” said Wang Qijie.

NTU Graphene Sensor 2

With regard to future adoption of graphene sensors in cameras, Assistant Professor Wang feels the sensors have to potential to go mainstream:

“While designing this sensor, we have kept current manufacturing practices in mind. This means the industry can in principle continue producing camera sensors using the CMOS (complementary metal-oxide-semiconductor) process, which is the prevailing technology used by the majority of factories in the electronics industry. Therefore manufacturers can easily replace the current base material of photo sensors with our new nano-structured graphene material.”

Graphene is about a million times smaller than the thickness of a human hair, and is formed as pure carbon atoms in a honeycomb structure. It is known to be highly conductive, and its physical properties allow for flexibility and durability.

(via Science Daily via CNET)

Image credits: Nanyang Technological University

  • Adam Cross

    Graphene is incredible, the discovery of it is amazing enough but it’s possible applications are mind blowing

  • ope

    and then we ask ourselves, why we didn’t think of this before.

  • frank mckenna

    ISO 1,000,000?

  • Peter

    This is great – perhaps get rid of flash :) Would be interested in the dynamic range performance too.

  • Andrea

    That could be the beginning of a new photographic era…

  • Sarah BK

    So a thin sheath of coal is what makes all the magic? :o

  • Trey Mortensen

    I’ve been studying Carbon Nanotubes for a few years now and I have known that they have been working on this stuff. It’s exciting that we are finally getting close. Of course it will be quite a while before we’ll see it in production, but I can’t wait. No more being stuck at ISO 800!

  • Rick Wilks

    imagine the high speed photography this will be able to capture and the Slow motion video.. this really is if it’s true the end of an era and whole new leap forward in imaging technology, am dribbling on my keyboard, I want it NOW.!!!! :0D

  • karmaportrait

    Future post: “D6 with Graphene Sensor Unveiled with $7,000 Price Tag”

  • MartiniVision

    Yes. For a while at least.

  • kelev

    And new lens capable of f99. Focus unnecessary.

  • Oliver Kealey

    Nikon/Canon and the rest are going to need to build some really amazing shutters. 1/100,000th of a second in the sunshine?

  • Michael Rasmussen

    Switch from physical to electrical shutters coming up. Or with that speed auto HDR in real time.

  • Mike

    Yes more being stuck at ISO 800.
    Obviously the manufacturers will use such a sensor in on ly the flagship models and let it trickle down the line with less quality as it gets closer to the most basic model.

  • Mike

    Can’t capture visible light if there’s no visible light.
    How about cheap and easy thermal imaging :)

  • Randy

    Built-in ND filters like many cameras have would fix this.

  • Maco

    Just the opposite. “We have shown that it is now possible to create cheap, sensitive and
    flexible photo sensors from graphene alone,” said Wang in a press

  • Maco

    I.e. The researchers at NTU said that once the sensor reaches mass
    production, it will be up to five times cheaper than CMOS or CCD

  • Antzkiwi

    Or electronic, not physical shutters.

  • Peter

    Well true, there will always be some need for a flash but at a 1M ISO those cases would become be far and few for most of us. And actually thinking about it a bit more 1M ISO isn’t that massively more different considering its square of the sensitivity, rather than a linear improvement, no?

  • freddy

    Digital Photography.
    A completely new way to capture images………but with all the drawbacks, rules & limitations of film.
    Any advancement in sensor technology will be welcome especially noise free images at any ISO.

  • karmaportrait

    what was the last “it will be cheap” and “revolutionary” technology that was released with a price tag aimed at the average consumers?

  • Guest

    Nikon D4’s Highest ISO 204,000 x 2^1000 =

    ISO 2185877558659985332800000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000

    someone had to do it

  • Guasch

    Nikon D4’s Highest ISO 204,000 x 2^1000 = ISO 21858775586599853328 with 289 Zeros behind those digits.

    Sorry, i had to.

  • rdwrt

    Interesting idea, but as far as speed is concerned there is a disadvantage:
    “thanks to the fact it’s able to trap light-generated electrons for longer times than current sensors.”

    High speed cameras are optimized not for sensitivity but for their ability to shifting megabytes of image data away from the sensor pixel transistors to the memory transistors at another part of the chip as fast as possible, without blocking the sensor. If these sensors could be used as stacked layers then maybe it could read out the data of each layer in consecutive fractions of seconds. Not sure if that is an improvement to current high speed photography technology.

  • Rick Wilks

    Ahh ok.. Sorry i’m just an excited photographer not a engineer, I meant in everyday lighting conditions i could capture images at higher shutter speeds than I could before given the ability to bump the ISO right up so i can increase shutter speed without having to use super high power lighting setups.

  • Bart van der Horst

    Unless some new company makes something brilliant for the rest of us.


    These sensors make me ponder the practicality of bringing back the pinhole

  • Mangap

    We need to see in real products instead of only on paper.
    If this year can produce 10x more sensitive sensor it already good, in real products.

  • refillable

    That’s not 1000 times, that’s 1000 stops.