The Image Sensors 2015 Conference will be held in London in March. Last year's conference was a massive success with 470 attendees from 263 companies across 23 countries attending. Certain to be on the agenda for discussion at this year's conference is the hyperspectral image sensor system which evaluates the spectral signature of a material for identification purposes and has many important applications in the industrial, surveillance and medical visions sectors.
Previous generations of hyperspectral systems have used dispersive light elements such as gratings and prisms to generate the hyperspectral image, but over the last four years, engineers have developed a method for producing a hyperspectral image by integrating novel optics onto a standard CMOS imager. Each material that is scanned by the image sensor possesses its own unique spectral signature and the hyperspectral imager can evaluate and sort different kinds of product by detecting each product's spectral signature. The image sensor collects multiple images of the product at very narrow wavelengths to form a hyperspectral data cube that consists of those multiple images. To capture multispectral images, of the different spectral signatures across a range of products, either the scanner or the object being scanned must be in motion.
On a basic level, image sensors are transducer devices which are used to convert an image into its corresponding electronic signal. Image technology is used in cameras, camcorders and other types of commercial imaging devices, and more complex image sensors are increasingly being used in applications across multiple market sectors including in medicine and in surveillance operations. Increased demand in the industrial sector is contributing to the growth of the market as manufacturers performing material processing want to monitor their manufacturing processes closely and supervise the movement of materials through the manufacturing facility.
The global image sensor market is seeing a technological shift from the use of CCD - charge-coupled device - image sensors, and CMOS - complementary metal-oxide-semiconductor - image sensors. CCD image sensors have been used widely in professional, medical and scientific applications where high-quality image data is required but have been witnessing a decline as manufacturers are increasingly favouring the CMOS technology which, used primarily for constructing integrated circuits, has a simple processing method and low manufacturing costs, and is seeing innovative design techniques as there are advances in the semiconductor manufacturing process.
The image sector market is growing, but analysts note the cyclic nature of the industry which fluctuates according to end-user demands.