Posted September. 20, 2005 06:42,
Dr. Kim Hoons high-resolution image sensor can produce vivid images even in the dark.
For example, if one takes a photograph in a dark theatre without turning on the flash, there will be nothing but a dark picture. The same occurs when taking a picture at a birthday party when the only light is coming from the candles. This is because the image sensor that is built in the camera cannot sense the feeble light.
Dr. Kim solved this difficult problem. His sensor can sense light 2,000-3,000 times more effectively than other image sensors, enabling cameras to take pictures without flashlights.
Planet 82, a company producing electronics parts, bought this technology from Dr. Kims research team in December 2003 for five billion won and two percent of its future sales. Half of the five billion won is expected to go to the researchers by the end of the year. Kim gets one billion won, and the other eight researchers will receive an average of 200 million won each.
Considering the fact that the technology transfer fees for technology developed by a university or government-run lab are usually around 200-300 million won, this is a huge amount.
Early this year, the State of New Jersey in the United States proposed a partnership using this technology to develop a disease-diagnosis chip that can be used in a PDA, under the condition of millions of dollars in funding for research.
Endless Opportunities for Commercial Applications-
Planet 82 is planning to finish the development of parts for a camera phone that can take pictures without the use of flash by the end of the year. Aside from this, the research team introduced a desktop computer product in February that can give various information regarding skin thickness, bone density and subcutaneous fat levels by measuring the amount of light that reflects when light strikes the skin.
The team later presented other image sensor-applied laptops, PDAs and home network devices.
What Is Quantum Physics?-
The main mechanism of Dr. Kims image sensor is quantum physics. It captures the light emitted from the object to make images.
Until now, it was known that an image sensor can function only when at least one million photons are injected and the same amount of electrons are released. Dr. Kim had a different idea. He thought that an image can be produced even with a single photon. Photons or electrons are particles that can fluctuate. Interestingly, at the size of 10 nanometers, their particle qualities become stronger.
Dr. Kim said, Applying quantum physics, we developed the technology to produce thousands of electrons out of one photon. In other words, we are able to produce vivid images by making millions of electrons out of thousands of photons. He continued, I am proud to prove that basic studies can make money too in a time when basic science is being ignored.