Supercamera

Introduction

We are working towards a revolutionary new imaging technology using sophisticated semiconductor technologies. Silicon-based camera chips are now ubiquitous for imaging in the visible part of the electromagnetic spectrum.  Sensing at other wavelengths is now being studied extensively, such as the mid-infrared (MIR) for gases, and the terahertz band for security and medical applications. Today, if we want to make an image that combines light from each of these parts of the spectrum, we need three separate cameras.  Our aim is to put all these imaging devices into a single Supercamera. Our new camera will have widespread applications in security, industrial, agricultural and medical imaging.

We are also investigators on the UK Quantum Enhanced Imaging Hub and aspects of the research in the Supercamera project are being further studied to produce enhanced sensitivity and integration potential for future imaging systems.

Research

The project contains many innovative technical challenges.  We have developed superspectral materials that provide complicated filter functions using thin metal films by exploiting metamaterial and surface plasmon resonance phenomena.  Using these materials we can pattern the surface of focal plane array image sensors so that a single device can collect light selectively in the visible, MIR and terahertz band. Results from this work have been published in Advanced Optical Materials.

We are designing unique complementary metal oxide semiconductor (CMOS) camera chips that contain all the electronics for image collecting in the visible and terahertz bands.  Using post-processing in our world class clean rooms – the James Watt Nanofabrication Centre – we integrate our superspectral materials on to the surface of the CMOS image sensor. We have demonstrated the world’s first metamaterial enhanced CMOS terahertz imaging technology and the results have been published in IEEE Transactions on Terahertz Science and Technology.

So that we can make images in the MIR we are using the InSb material system.  For the first time, we have demonstrated a hybrid InSb photodetector on GaAs material system so we can integrate transistors into the same device.  Using this material we have made active pixel sensors that will form the basis of or MIR focal plane array. Our results can be read in IEEE Transactions of Electron Devices.

We are now working towards integrating the sensor chips into a coaxial format so as to produce a single superspectral image.  If this work excites you please contact us to find our more about research opportunities for you.

We are collaborating with Gas Sensing Solutions, Texas Instruments, Selex-ES and STMicroelectronics and our work is supported by EPSRC grants EP/J018678/1 and EP/M01326X/1.

People

Prinicipal Investigator

Professor David Cumming, University of Glasgow

Co-Investigators

Researchers

PhD students

  • Chengzhi Xie
  • Mark Humphreys

Completed PhD

Project Partners