Are you fed up with your camera – or any camera – not being able to take decent low-light photos? Just be patient. Swiss researchers have developed a molybdenite light sensor, that they say is five times more light-sensitive than current technology.
On an ordinary light sensor, the semi-conducting silicon surface of each pixel generates an electrical charge in response to exposure to light. The camera’s firmware processes those individual charges to form one cohesive image.
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Molybdenite requires much less light energy than silicon, in order to produce a charge. Knowing this, an Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL) team led by Prof. Andras Kis developed a proof-of-concept prototype light sensor that utilizes a one-atom-thick layer of molybdenite instead of silicon. They discovered that the sensor’s single pixel produced a charge using just one fifth the amount of light energy required by a pixel on a silicon sensor.
Like silicon, the mineral molybdenite is naturally abundant and relatively inexpensive.
“Our main goal is to prove that MoS2 [molybdenum disulfide] is an ideal candidate for this kind of application,” says Kis. “It would make it possible to take photographs using only starlight.”
Source: EPFLView gallery - 2 images