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  • SiOnyx Detectors Set Milestone
Jun 2010
BEVERLY, Mass., June 25, 2010 — SiOnyx Inc., in collaboration with the Army Research Office (ARO), has successfully demonstrated pixel-scale detectors with room temperature detectivity (D*) exceeding 1×1014 Jones. This represents a full 10× improvement over traditional silicon detectors, setting a record for performance that paves the way for SiOnyx to lead in new sponsored research programs with the Army Night Vision and Electronic Sensors Directorate (NVESD) and Darpa.

Dr. A. Fenner Milton, director of NVESD, said, “NVESD is interested in approaches to low-light-level imaging that have the potential for leveraging silicon technology to reduce costs.”

SiOnyx is commercializing a fundamentally new semiconductor processing technique that represents a breakthrough in the development of smaller, cheaper, high-performing silicon photonic devices. Based on a novel laser implant method first discovered at Harvard and commonly referred to as ‘black silicon,’ SiOnyx’s patented semiconductor process dramatically enhances the performance of light-sensing devices across a range of applications in the consumer, industrial, medical and defense industries. Under the ARO grant, SiOnyx has shown the applicability of its technology to CMOS image sensors and other mass-produced photonic devices used in demanding imaging and photo-detecting applications.

“Signal-to-noise ratio and dynamic range dictate the ultimate performance in any photonic system,” said Stephen Saylor, CEO of SiOnyx. “In applications ranging from medical imaging to digital photography, these basic device characteristics underlie the quality of experience. The record-setting results shown in our work with the ARO are astounding and demonstrate once again how SiOnyx’s technology platform has the potential to dramatically alter performance in these multibillion-dollar industries.”

With the completion of this milestone and resulting performance breakthroughs, SiOnyx is now leading newly sponsored programs with the US Army’s NVESD and Darpa that will advance the use of black silicon in low-light and infrared imaging.

Dr. Nibir Dhar, program manager in Darpa’s Microsystems Technology Office, added, “High-performance, low-cost, small infrared cameras at room temperature will have significant impact on many aspects of modern war fighting. Black Silicon offers an enabling pathway in low-cost CMOS camera development for near-infrared applications.”

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The technology of generating and harnessing light and other forms of radiant energy whose quantum unit is the photon. The science includes light emission, transmission, deflection, amplification and detection by optical components and instruments, lasers and other light sources, fiber optics, electro-optical instrumentation, related hardware and electronics, and sophisticated systems. The range of applications of photonics extends from energy generation to detection to communications and...
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