Panasonic Corporation has developed unique "micro colour splitters", which separate the light that falls on image sensors by exploiting light's wavelike properties. Applying them to actual image sensors allows bright colour images to be achieved even under low-light conditions. This development makes colour filters unnecessary by using the micro colour splitters that control the diffraction1 of light at a microscopic level. Panasonic has achieved approximately double the colour sensitivity in comparison with conventional sensors that use colour filters.
The developed technology has the following features:
Using colour alignment, which can use light more efficiently, instead of colour filters, vivid colour photographs can be taken at half the light levels needed by conventional sensors.
Micro colour splitters can simply replace the colour filters in conventional image sensors, and are not dependent on the type of image sensor (CCD3 or CMOS4) underneath.
Micro colour splitters can be fabricated using inorganic materials and existing semiconductor fabrication processes.
This development is based on the following new technology:
A unique method of analysis and design based on wave optics that permits fast and precise computation of wave-optics phenomena.
Device optimization technologies for creating micro colour splitters that control the phase of the light passing through a transparent and highly-refractive plate-like structure to separate colours at a microscopic scale using diffraction.
Layout technologies and unique algorithms that allow highly sensitive and precise colour reproduction by combining the light that falls on detectors separated by the micro colour splitters and processing the detected signals.