Novel material improves image sensor resolution

A new material discovered by researchers in Switzerland has been shown to improve the sensitivity of photographic image sensors by a factor of five.

Known as molybdenite (MoS2), the material was first unveiled by the Ecole Polytechnique Federale de Lausanne (EPFL) team in 2011. Naturally abundant and inexpensive, it is claimed to offer distinct advantages over traditional silicon and even graphene, paving the way for smaller and more energy efficient electronics.

Like the silicon used in currently available sensors, MoS2 requires an electric current, which comes from the battery. To generate a pixel, the charge generated by the light energy must be greater than the threshold current from the battery.

A single atom layer of MoS2 requires only a small electric charge to function. Because of this, it takes much less light energy to reach the threshold needed to generate a pixel.

The EPFL team integrated MoS2 into a prototype image sensor and found that it had five times the light sensitivity of current technology, despite only having one pixel.

The researchers anticipate that the discovery could advance applications such as low light or night time photography, as well as biomedical imaging.

Laura Hopperton

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