Panasonic doubles color sensitivity of digital camera sensors

The electronics firm said it can replace the color filter arrays now used to capture color information in image sensors

Panasonic has developed a new way to drastically increase the color and light sensitivity of digital cameras including those used in smartphones.

The Osaka-based electronics manufacturer said Monday its method replaces the color filter arrays widely used in such devices to capture individual colors, using tiny prism-like color splitters instead. The company said the new method can double the color sensitivity of image sensors, leading to far brighter images under the same lighting conditions or similar image quality at half the light.

Most image sensors on the market detect only the intensity of light they are exposed to, and so must rely on filters to provide color information. Each pixel in a sensor sits under a tiny filter that lets through only a single color. In the widely used Bayer filter, light is filtered into red, blue and green, with green given half the total pixels and the remainder split between the other two colors.

But Panasonic said this filtering method blocks much of the light before it reaches the sensor pixels, letting only 25 to 50 percent through. The company's "micro color splitters" use a super-thin transparent and refractive material to diffract light into combinations of white, red and blue, with no loss of light, which can then be translated back into standard colors mathematically.

The new filters can be used with existing image sensors, including the most commonly used CCD and CMOS varieties. The company said they can be manufactured using existing chip production techniques, and the computations involved are based on a newly developed method of analyzing the optics involved.

A Panasonic spokeswoman said the company doesn't have a schedule for commercializing the new technology.

The company said the new method for filtering colors is described in the latest issue of the publication Nature Photonics. It said it has obtained or applied for 21 Japanese patents and 16 overseas patents in regards to the new technology.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Jay Alabaster

IDG News Service
Topics: popular science, consumer electronics, Panasonic, digital cameras
Comments are now closed.

Latest News Articles

Most Popular Articles

Follow Us

GGG Evaluation Team

Kathy Cassidy

STYLISTIC Q702

First impression on unpacking the Q702 test unit was the solid feel and clean, minimalist styling.

Anthony Grifoni

STYLISTIC Q572

For work use, Microsoft Word and Excel programs pre-installed on the device are adequate for preparing short documents.

Steph Mundell

LIFEBOOK UH574

The Fujitsu LifeBook UH574 allowed for great mobility without being obnoxiously heavy or clunky. Its twelve hours of battery life did not disappoint.

Andrew Mitsi

STYLISTIC Q702

The screen was particularly good. It is bright and visible from most angles, however heat is an issue, particularly around the Windows button on the front, and on the back where the battery housing is located.

Simon Harriott

STYLISTIC Q702

My first impression after unboxing the Q702 is that it is a nice looking unit. Styling is somewhat minimalist but very effective. The tablet part, once detached, has a nice weight, and no buttons or switches are located in awkward or intrusive positions.

Resources

Best Deals on GoodGearGuide

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?