Published on : Oct 19, 2016
Image sensors convert optical signals into electrical signals, which can then be transmitted across circuits and used to perform various other functions. The sensors work by converting the light waves by their variable attenuation into signals that are tangible to the application systems, i.e. small impulses of electricity that carry with them the data of a particular image. The data can also be transmitted using electromagnetic radiation. Common uses of image sensors include medical imaging equipment, camera modules, digital cameras, thermal imaging devices, night vision devices, and radar and sonar devices. They have been the key to replace the older analog imaging and image sensing devices to the more accurate, faster, and smoother digital means of today.
The global value of imaging sensors as a market in 2012 was calculated to be US$6.84 bn and is expected to keep increasing due to several factors that are significantly augmenting its demand. The usage of image sensors can be roughly divided into two forms: consumer devices and industrial devices. The former comprises of the massive number of consumer electronics, toys, and beginners astronomy devices. These devices do not need high quality image sensors to perform the required functions accurately. As a result, more consumer based applications of image sensors use the types that are easy to manufacture in large quantities, is cheap, and does not use rare raw materials. CMOS-based image sensors fall into this groove perfectly and therefore hold a massive share in the global demand for image sensors.
One of the biggest upcoming applications for image sensors lies in the field of portable devices. Both consumer goods and industrial electronics are rapidly transforming into stationary units to portable ones. This is creating a massive scope of research and development of image sensors that can be used effectively in these portable device. These sensors need to take up as little battery life as possible, work silently, and transmit data across wireless channels with ease. A modern example of this would be the use of image sensors in drone, where the user needs real-time feed of what the drone is seeing. This allows the user to manage the mobile device effectively and avoid mishaps.