Toward Efficient Smart Pixels

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Science  17 Dec 1999:
Vol. 286, Issue 5448, pp. 2286-2287
DOI: 10.1126/science.286.5448.2286

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By combining image detection and processing on a single chip, smart pixels have the potential to process visual images more efficiently than present technologies. However, today's smart pixels are rather complex, and their image resolution cannot match that of a charge-coupled device camera. A clever device reported by Lundstrom et al. (page 2312) may help make smart pixels more competitive. The device detects light pulses through photogenerated charges, stores its intensity information for up to seconds, and reemits it again as a light pulse. Such a storage device for photonic signals might be developed into a smart pixel that can easily be fabricated in large numbers on a single chip.