Queen Elizabeth Prize for Engineering Awarded to the Creators of Digital Imaging Sensors

LONDON --- Four engineers responsible for the creation of digital imaging sensors were today honoured with the world's most prestigious engineering prize. The Queen Elizabeth Prize for Engineering is a £1million prize, celebrating world-changing engineering innovations.

Eric Fossum (USA), George Smith (USA), Nobukazu Teranishi (Japan) and Michael Tompsett (UK) were announced as the winners by Lord Browne of Madingley, in the presence of HRH The Princess Royal, at the Royal Academy of Engineering.

Their innovations revolutionised the visual world; the charge coupled device (CCD), the pinned photodiode (PPD) and the complementary metal oxide semiconductor (CMOS) image sensor.

Digital imaging sensors have enabled high-speed, low-cost colour imaging at a resolution and sensitivity that can exceed that of the human eye. They offer instant access to images ranging from minute cell structures to galaxies billions of light years away, transforming medicine, science, communication and entertainment.

The revolution began in the 1970s with the development of the CCD by George Smith and its use in imaging by Michael Tompsett. The CCD is the image sensor inside early digital cameras, converting particles of light, or photons, into electrical signals enabling the image to be stored as digital data. The following decade, Nobukazu Teranishi invented the pinned photodiode (PPD), reducing the size of light-capturing 'pixels' and significantly improving image quality. The development of the CMOS sensor by Eric Fossum in 1992 allowed cameras to be made smaller, cheaper and with better battery life.

For further information, visit http://www.qeprize.org

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