LOW LIGHT SENSOR: SiOnyx demonstrates silicon detectors with record-breaking photosensitivity

June 23, 2010
In collaboration with the Army Research Office (ARO), SiOnyx has demonstrated pixel-scale detectors with room-temperature detectivity (D*) exceeding 1x1014 Jones.

Beverly, MA--In collaboration with the Army Research Office (ARO), SiOnyx has demonstrated pixel-scale detectors with room-temperature detectivity (D*) exceeding 1x1014 Jones, which is ten times higher than that of traditional silicon detectors.

SiOnyx is participating in sponsored research programs with the Army Night Vision and Electronic Sensors Directorate (NVESD) and the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) in low-light and IR imaging. Fenner Milton, the US Army NVESD's director noted, "NVESD is interested in approaches to low-light-level imaging that have the potential for leveraging silicon technology to reduce costs."

Black silicon

SiOnyx is commercializing a new semiconductor processing technique; based on a novel laser-implant method first discovered at Harvard and commonly referred to as "black silicon," SiOnyx's patented semiconductor process increases light absorption to close to 100%, enhancing the performance of light-sensing devices. Under the ARO grant, SiOnyx has shown the applicability of its technology to CMOS image sensors and other mass-produced photonic devices used in imaging and photodetecting applications.

"Signal-to-noise ratio and dynamic range dictate the ultimate performance in any photonic system," said Stephen Saylor, CEO of SiOnyx. "In applications ranging from medical imaging to digital photography, these basic device characteristics underlie the quality of experience."

Nibir Dhar, program manager in DARPA's Microsystems Technology Office, said, "High-performance, low-cost, small IR cameras at room temperature will have significant impact on many aspects of modern war fighting. Black silicon offers an enabling pathway in low-cost CMOS camera development for near-IR applications."

See www.sionyx.com.

About the Author

John Wallace | Senior Technical Editor (1998-2022)

John Wallace was with Laser Focus World for nearly 25 years, retiring in late June 2022. He obtained a bachelor's degree in mechanical engineering and physics at Rutgers University and a master's in optical engineering at the University of Rochester. Before becoming an editor, John worked as an engineer at RCA, Exxon, Eastman Kodak, and GCA Corporation.

Voice your opinion!

To join the conversation, and become an exclusive member of Laser Focus World, create an account today!