Researchers at Nanyang Technological University in Singapore have designed a graphene-based image sensor which is 1,000 times more sensitive to light than traditional CMOS or CCD camera sensors.  The new sensor collects and absorbs light more efficiently and allows it to ‘burn’ on the sensor for longer, creating the image.

Asst Prof Wang Qijie webbanner

“This technology will allow photographers to take much clearer images in harsh lighting conditions and, when mass produced, estimates are that graphene sensors will be up to five times cheaper than camera sensors today,” according to the media report.

There are many future applications for this sensor in the scientific, health, and military realm, but I think it’s easy to see that there are also many photographers who would hop all over this.  Think of the new opportunities this brings to star and wildlife photographers, as well as club and live-performance photographers.  Further, this opens doors to a whole new genre of street photography – imagine more easily taking pictures in the city after the sun has set – a ‘Nightlife of New York’ if you will.

And what of the implications for a whole new way to do HDR – instead of having to composite or let some program in the camera merge the images for you; you could have a sensor that would be able to get it right the first time. To be clear I mean that you may still have to do some compositing, but perhaps likely with a less chance of error and post editing – there would be vivid colors and light in the over-exposed bracketed image rather than a flat ‘dry’ image that you sometimes get.

View the press release.

Would this new sensor also mean more detailed images, or would it simply blow out everything in the scene under normal light?  As always, there may be significant disadvantages.  What do you think these would be?

Would you use a camera with a sensor like this, and what would you use it for?  Please post your comments below!