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New camera sensor may do away with flash someday soon
The camera flash may soon be a thing of the past. A newly developed imaging sensor promises to produce clear and sharp photos even in dim lighting.
The sensor made by researchers at Nanyang Technological University (NTU) in Singapore is 1,000 times more sensitive to light than imaging sensors in most modern cameras.
"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," tech site Mashable quoted the sensor's inventor Wang Qijie as saying.
Wang is an assistant professor at NTU's School of Electrical and Electronic Engineering.
He said this is the first time that a broad-spectrum, high photosensitive sensor has been made using pure graphene.
Wang said manufacturers will not have problems switching to graphene, saying the camera industry need not change its manufacturing processes - all it has to do is switch the base materials for graphene.
If the industry adopts his design, he said we could soon see cheaper, lighter cameras with longer battery lives.
For its part, Mashable said the new sensor may have applications not only in point-and-shoot cameras, but also in surveillance and satellite cameras.
The new sensor uses "light-trapping" nanostructures that use graphene as a base. The nanostructures hold onto light-generated electron particles much longer than current sensors.
"We have shown that it is now possible to create cheap, sensitive and flexile sensors from graphene alone," Wang said.
Graphene, a one atom-thick layer of the mineral graphite, is a strong carbon compound with a honeycomb structure.
The structure makes it "as flexible as rubber, more conductive than silicon and which resists heat better than a diamond," Mashable said.
With such properties, graphene has been touted as the building material of the future, winning Andre Geim and Konstantin Novoselov the Nobel Prize in physics in 2010 for their work with it.
Graphene's properties make for stronger electric signals, which can be processed into an image, compared to the complementary metal-oxide semiconductor used by present cameras. — ELR, GMA News
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