Digital Cameras Guide
Panasonic Reveals New High-Sensitivity Sensors with Micro Color Splitters
It seems that Panasonic has found a way to increase the sensitivity of image sensors with unique 'micro color splitters'. Instead of using the conventional Bayer color array - found in most digital image sensors today - which block 50 to 70% of incoming light, these micro color splitters allow all of the incoming light to be directed onto the sensor. This would make the sensor more sensitive to light, reducing the need for higher ISO settings and thus reducing the amount of noise in an image.
The developed technology has the following features.
1. Using color alignment, which can use light more efficiently, instead of color filters, vivid color photographs can be taken at half the light levels needed by conventional sensors.
2. Micro color splitters can simply replace the color filters in conventional image sensors, and are not dependent on the type of image sensor (CCD3 or CMOS4) underneath.
3. Micro color splitters can be fabricated using inorganic materials and existing semiconductor fabrication processes.
It's not clear from Panasonic's press release how far along this new technology is and how soon we'll see its appearance in Panasonic's imaging products.