Sunday, October 12, 2008

SiOnyx, The Black Silicon Company

SiOnyx is set up to commercialize the new material discovered by Harward University physicist Eric Mazur. As I understand from the company site "Black Silicon" is a modified material having a narrower than bulk Si bandgap and still compatible with Si process (not necessarily CMOS process). The narrower bandgap allows for higher absorption coefficient for visible light.

It looks like the photodetector is based on photoconductive principle, rather than photodiode, so an additional gain is possible right in the detector itself. The noise would be higher as well, both at low and strong light, but the company does not talk about this so far.

SiOnyx sees a lot of applications for the new photodetector, imaging is one of them. A white paper specifically talks about smaller than 1um pixels, leveraging higher absorption coefficient of Black Silicon.

NY Times runs an article about the new company and people behind it.

1 comment:

  1. It is great that you capture news articles like this. And, it is always dangerous to "dis" new approaches. Still, it seems to me that the white paper authors don't really understand the challenges of small pixels, full well, nor shot noise. On the other hand, I am guessing the regular readers of this blog can immediately find the shortcomings of the claims made for image sensors by the authors. Still, a few good uses of this improved silicon material come to mind and maybe image sensors can benefit as well. I am still looking for my jot detector, for example.


All comments are moderated to avoid spam and personal attacks.