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InVisage Claims Leap In Imaging Technology

QuantumFilm improves picture quality by capturing significantly more light than silicon-based image sensors used in digital cameras today, company says.
A Silicon Valley startup claims it has developed technology that it said will greatly improve the picture quality of smartphone cameras. InVisage Technologies demonstrated its QuantumFilm technology at the DEMO Spring 2010 conference in Palm Desert, Calif.

QuantumFilm improves picture quality by capturing more light than the silicon-based image sensors used in digital cameras today. Such technology can only capture on average about 25% of light coming through a camera's lens. QuantumFilm, on the other hand, captures from 90% to 95% of light.

The increase in light improves picture quality overall, particular under less-than-optimal lighting conditions. The technology does this through the use of InVisage-developed "quantum dots," tiny semiconductors with unique light-capturing properties.

QuantumFilm takes the captured imprint of a light image and employs the silicon underneath to turn the image into digital signals. The quantum dot material can be produced within standard CMOS manufacturing processes used for constructing integrated circuits.

"The disruptive nature of QuantumFilm builds on silicon's success in electronics, and elevates its function using new materials that are engineered from the ground up for light capture," Jess Lee, president and chief executive of InVisage, said in a statement.

Within camera phones, the first target market, QuantumFilm will enable far better pictures and higher pixel counts than in today's devices, according to InVisage. The company plans to eventually make its technology available for use in security cameras, military applications, and other image-sensing technologies. Samples of its technology for camera phones are expected to be available in the fourth quarter of this year.

InVisage, founded in 2006 and based in Menlo Park, Calif., employs 30 people and has received more than $30 million in funding from Rockport Capital, Charles River Ventures, Interest Partners and On Point Technologies.