Single-photon imaging inspired by human vision

Hooman Mohseni*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

2 Scopus citations


Single photon detectors are regarded as a key enabling technology in a wide range of medical, industrial, and military applications. However, the existing single photon detectors that can operate at or near room temperature have poor efficiency and high noise. Interestingly, the counterparts of these devices in nature, namely the rod cells, have amazingly high efficiency and low noise. In particular, the noise performance of the rod cells is five to six orders of magnitude better than the semiconductor based single photon detectors at room temperature. At Bio-inspired Sensors and Optoelectronics Laboratory, we explored the origin of such a high noise performance, and designed and implemented a novel semiconductor device based on the underlying detection mechanism in the rod cells. Our device shows very promising properties including orders of magnitude higher gain and lower noise compared with the existing devices. More interestingly, the low operating voltage of the device combined with high gain uniformity should allow, for the first time, realization of large imaging arrays with a high internal gain. Such imagers would open new opportunities for novel applications such as quantum ghost imaging.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationHuman Vision and Electronic Imaging XIII
StatePublished - Mar 31 2008
EventHuman Vision and Electronic Imaging XIII - San Jose, CA, United States
Duration: Jan 28 2008Jan 31 2008

Publication series

NameProceedings of SPIE - The International Society for Optical Engineering
ISSN (Print)0277-786X


OtherHuman Vision and Electronic Imaging XIII
CountryUnited States
CitySan Jose, CA


  • Bio-inspired
  • Infrared detector
  • Nano-processing
  • Single electron transistor
  • Single photon detectors

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Applied Mathematics
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering

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