Wednesday, July 17, 2019

See Device Startup Proposes "Quantum PATPD Pixel"

Buena Park, CA-based See Device Inc. startup proposes:

"Photon Assisted Tunneling Photodetector (PAT-PD) Technology, is new photodetector technology redefining what's possible with standard silicon CMOS image sensor without compromise to performance and efficiency. An innovative pixel array system formed by new structures and design mechanisms of silicon, SeeDevice's proprietary image sensor uses Quantum Tunneling resulting in high sensitivity, quantum efficiency, low SNR, and wide spectral response."

"The PAT-PD sensor is designed incorporating principles of quantum mechanics and nanotechnology to produce groundbreaking improvements in dynamic range, sensitivity, and low light capabilities without compromising size and efficiency. Standard sensors require conceding either the cost efficiency of CMOS and the better specifications of CCD sensors. This compromise is eliminated by the groundbreaking technology used in the SeeDevice image sensors and photodetectors.

PAT-PD completely redefines the physical principles used for sensors by using photon-activated current flow. SeeDevice owns 50 patents worldwide which enable us to produce industry-disrupting specifications by using photons as a trigger mechanism to enable current flow. The technology has a wide spectrum of applications and can be easily integrated since the entire device is built on a CMOS process.

PAT-PD enables device development with no compromise on technical specification. One device can have high resolution, high frame rate, high sensitivity, and a wide dynamic range without modifications.

I'm told that the registered agent of Pixel Device Inc, Hoon Kim, has the same name as the CTO of infamous Planet82 company. Does anybody know if this is the same person?

Thanks to RA for the link!


  1. How about a real QE curve separated from the gain mechanism.

    1. Assuming that the gain is independent of wavelength, there are sum strange things going on. The sensitivity changes by two orders of magnitude per decade, suggesting a lambda square relationship of quantum efficiency. What is this?

      Regardless of absolute magnitude, assuming that the IQE at the maximum is 1, we end up with <5% IQE in the visible range...

  2. Assuming this is based on something besides total fiction, it seems quantum dots or something similar would be consistent with the A/W metric, the extended response, and the term quantum sensors. Perhaps photon-assisted tunneling has something to do with carriers escaping the dot. I am just speculating for the fun of it. I enjoyed the "bright light comparison" including all the row noise.

  3. "Quantum" and "nanotechnolgy" are keywords that always trigger my bullsh*t-meter. On the other hand it would be quite arduous to model dirt and row noise for a fake demonstrator. Further digging around lead me to this:

    Seems relevant and would confirm the dark current challenge this sensor has.
    If they really went from a silicon ridge wave guide to a functional VGA sensor in two years then hats off to them!

    But I still have some issues with the table given. Mixing responsivity with QE is just wrong and the frame rates for the Python and CMV sensors are 750 and 480fps, respectively.


    1. Well, how about this patent?

      It seems to describe a photodetection mechanism based on hot carrier tunneling. Gain may be high, but the detection volume would be rather small...

    2. Interesting idea. They seem to rely on free-electron light absorption in sub-bandgap NIR band. So, the absorption coefficient is very low and their QE is supposed to be low as well.


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