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Scottish scientists aim to improve digital camera images

 2nd Jan 2009

Almost half a million pounds has been given to a team of scientists at Glasgow University to research ways that tiny 'nanostructures' can be used to improve the sensitivity of CMOS (Complementary Metal-Oxide Semiconductor) sensors.

All other elements being equal, the more sensitive the CMS chip, the better the quality of photographic images. There is a thin metal layer on the CMOS chip that oscillates with the energy that the light waves deliver. The combined light waves, termed plasmons, reverberate in groups and these affect the way that light is distributed around the film. The CMOS interprets this light and converts it into digital values.

The team at Glasgow are hoping to create tiny nanostructures, or minuscule patterns, to manipulate particles in the thin metal layer. This will, in effect, create a new optical effect that should significantly enhance the CMOS sensitivity.

Leader of the research team, Professor David Cumming, said: "Digital imaging has come a long way in recent years and this project aims to further improve the ability of digital devices to produce high-quality pictures."

It will be at least three years before the project is expected to be completed.