News Releases

MENLO PARK, Calif., April 9, 2013 – InVisage Inc., the Silicon Valley-based startup revolutionizing imaging, today announced it has added Remi Lacombe—a business development executive known for his expertise in mobile devices and imaging—to its growing executive team. Lacombe will serve as vice president of business development and sales for the company, building relationships with device manufacturers and helping to bring InVisage’s QuantumFilm-based products to market.

“Remi has worked with all the major mobile device manufacturers and will be instrumental in extending our key relationships to produce camera phones that allow consumers to shoot pro-quality photos,” said Jess Lee, president and CEO of InVisage. “We are thrilled to have Remi on the InVisage executive team.”

For the past nine years, Lacombe was vice president of business development at DxO Labs. One of the company’s earliest employees, he created and built DxO Labs’ mobile imaging business, winning design wins at all major device manufacturers. Lacombe helped to grow the 125-person company’s business to sustainability and multi-year profitability.

Prior to DxO, Lacombe led several entrepreneurial ventures including serving as CEO of Zandan and co-founder of PAS International. He previously held positions at C-Cube Microsystems, Chorus Systems and Sun Microsystems. Lacombe received his MS degree in engineering management from Stanford University and holds applied science and engineering degrees from Ecole Polytechnique and Ecole Nationale Supérieure des Télécommunications, both in Paris, France.

“I’ve spent years helping device manufacturers build smaller, better and more cost-effective digital cameras. InVisage is way ahead of the game with QuantumFilm, which enables capturing amazing quality photos from ultra-thin smartphones. This company is moving the industry many steps forward. I am excited to be working with the talented and driven InVisage team,” Lacombe said.

InVisage QuantumFilm is the world’s most light-sensitive image sensor for smartphones, capable of producing gorgeous, high-quality photos in virtually any lighting condition. InVisage has transformed the image sensor by adding a thin layer of quantum dot film to produce highly sensitive image sensors that can be mass-produced using standard CMOS processes. Compared to current camera technologies, the InVisage QuantumFilm sensor provides incredible performance in the smallest package, making picture-taking foolproof, even in dimly lit rooms.
More information on QuantumFilm and InVisage Technologies is available at www.invisage.com.

About InVisage Technologies, Inc.
InVisage Technologies, Inc. is a venture-backed, fabless semiconductor company based in Menlo Park, Calif. that has developed QuantumFilm, a breakthrough imaging-sensing technology that will replace silicon. Its first product enables high-fidelity, high-resolution images from handheld devices like camera phones and digital cameras. Founded in 2006, InVisage Technologies is venture funded by GGV Capital, Nokia Growth Partners, RockPort Capital, InterWest Partners, Intel Capital, OnPoint Technologies and Charles River Ventures. More information is available at www.invisage.com.

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Media/Analyst Contact:
Barbara Hagin
Breakaway Communications for InVisage Technologies, Inc.
415-358-2484 – ofc
408-832-7626 – mobile
bhagin@breakawaycom.com

Funding round moves breakthrough QuantumFilm imaging products from R&D to manufacturing; includes investment from GGV Capital and Nokia Growth Partners

MENLO PARK, Calif.– February 13, 2013 – InVisage Technologies, Inc. – a Silicon Valley-based start-up that is revolutionizing the image sensor market – today announced it has received its Series D round of venture funding, led by GGV Capital and including Nokia Growth Partners. The undisclosed amount will be used to begin manufacturing the company’s QuantumFilm image sensors, which are currently being evaluated by phone manufacturers. Devices incorporating the technology are expected to ship in Q2 2014. GGV and Nokia Growth Partners join InVisage’s existing investors RockPort Capital, InterWest Partners, Intel Capital and OnPoint Technologies.

“InVisage is poised to make a tremendous impact on consumer devices and end users with its QuantumFilm image sensors,” said Thomas Ng, founding partner, GGV Capital. “Our investment focus and expertise are helping companies during this crucial expansion stage, and we look forward to working with the InVisage team as they scale their technology for the demands of the global mobile-device market.”

InVisage QuantumFilm is the world’s most light-sensitive image sensor for smartphones, capable of producing gorgeous, high-quality photos in virtually any lighting condition. InVisage has transformed the image sensor by adding a thin layer of quantum dot film to produce highly sensitive image sensors that can be mass-produced using standard CMOS processes. Compared to current camera technologies, the InVisage QuantumFilm sensor provides incredible performance in the smallest package, making picture-taking foolproof, even in dimly lit rooms.

“The innovative QuantumFilm technology from InVisage has the potential to disrupt the market for silicon-based image sensors,” said Bo Ilsoe, managing partner of Nokia Growth Partners. “Imaging remains a core investment area for NGP, and it is our belief that InVisage’s technology will change how video and images are captured in consumer devices.”

“The participation of new investors, including a major handset maker, in this round signals that imaging is a critical differentiator in mobile devices,” said Jess Lee, CEO, InVisage Technologies. “For too long, the image sensor industry has lacked innovation. We are excited to bring stunning image quality and advanced new features that will truly transform this industry.”

More information on QuantumFilm and InVisage Technologies is available at www.invisage.com.

About InVisage Technologies, Inc.
InVisage Technologies, Inc. is a venture-backed, fabless semiconductor company based in Menlo Park, Calif. that has developed QuantumFilm, a breakthrough imaging-sensing technology that will replace silicon. Its first product enables high-fidelity, high-resolution images from handheld devices like camera phones and digital cameras. Founded in 2006, InVisage Technologies is venture funded by GGV Capital, Nokia Growth Partners, RockPort Capital, InterWest Partners, Intel Capital, OnPoint Technologies and Charles River Ventures. More information is available at www.invisage.com.

MENLO PARK, CA–(Marketwire – Oct 15, 2012) – InVisage Inc., a Silicon Valley-based startup revolutionizing imaging, was named to the recently released EE Times “Silicon 60: Hot startups to watch.” The list recognizes innovative, emerging companies EE Times editorial staff believes are poised for great success.

“EE Times is proud to acknowledge emerging startups on our Silicon 60 list, first published in April 2004,” said Alexander Wolfe, Brand Director, EE Times. “Each year our editors, led by the hard work of Peter Clarke, carefully select companies based on a mix of criteria such as maturity, investment profile and executive leadership. It’s quite a testament for an organization to be named to the list.”

“It is truly an honor to be recognized by the industry’s leading publication,” said Jess Lee, CEO, InVisage. “We intend to meet and exceed everyone’s expectations for innovation with our QuantumFilm image sensors, which are already ‘wowing’ our customers with their ability to produce photographs with resolution and quality characteristics that rival film.”

Silicon 60 companies are selected based on a mix of criteria, including: technology, intended market, maturity, financial position, investment profile and executive leadership.

InVisage’s award-winning QuantumFilm digital image sensor utilizes a quantum-dot based material to enable unprecedented light capture efficiency. The result is stunning, professional-quality, digital photographs from tiny form factors, such as cameraphones.

About InVisage Technologies, Inc.
InVisage Technologies, Inc. is a venture-backed, fabless semiconductor company based in Menlo Park, California. InVisage’s award-winning QuantumFilm technology is a breakthrough digital image sensor that utilizes a quantum-dot based material to enable unprecedented light capture efficiency. The result is stunning, professional-quality digital photographs from tiny form factors, such as cameraphones. Founded in 2006, InVisage Technologies is venture funded by RockPort Capital, Intel Capital, InterWest Partners, and OnPoint Technologies. More information is available at www.invisage.com.

Industry Veteran Brings over 25 Years of Experience to Image Sensor Start-up

MENLO PARK, Calif., – June 25, 2012– InVisage Inc., a Silicon Valley-based startup revolutionizing the imaging world, today announced that it has named industry veteran Syrus P. Madavi as chairman of the board. Madavi brings over 25 years of leadership and experience managing businesses in the semiconductor and optical communication markets.

“We’re very excited to welcome Syrus to the team. We are honored to be able to work with him and benefit from his in-depth knowledge of the semiconductor industry and his extensive operational experience as we continue to build our worldwide momentum.” said Jess Lee, CEO of InVisage.

“QuantumFilm is truly a remarkable achievement—a revolutionary technological leap forward that I am sure will have a lasting impact on how we capture images and video,” said Madavi. “I’m joining InVisage at a very exciting time, and I’m looking forward to helping the company extend its reach with its groundbreaking products.”

In addition to his position as chairman of InVisage, Madavi is president of SPM Capital, a private fund focused on disruptive businesses within semiconductor, digital consumer and clean energy markets. Madavi’s career has encompassed managing a number of public and private businesses including serving as chairman, president and CEO of Burr-Brown Corporation; president, chief operating officer, and director of JDS Uniphase; senior vice president of Texas Instruments; president of Raytheon Semiconductor; and founder and president of Signal Processing Technologies.

Madavi has also served on boards of several public and private companies including Burr-Brown Corp., JDS Uniphase, ON Semiconductor, Centilium Communications, Metalink Inc, and Coreoptics. Currently, he serves as chairman of Akros Silicon, Inc. and is a member of the board of directors of Exalt Communications.

Madavi holds a B.S. in Electrical Engineering and an MS in Computer Science, both from Stevens Institute of Technology. He also earned an MBA degree in Finance from UCLA Anderson School of Management.

About InVisage Technologies, Inc.

InVisage Technologies, Inc. is a venture-backed, fabless semiconductor company based in Menlo Park, California. InVisage’s award-winning QuantumFilm™ technology is a breakthrough digital image sensor that utilizes a quantum-dot based material to enable unprecedented light capture efficiency. The result is stunning, professional-quality digital photographs from tiny form factors, such as cameraphones. Founded in 2006, InVisage Technologies is venture funded by RockPort Capital, Intel Capital, InterWest Partners, OnPoint Technologies and Charles River Ventures. More information is available at www.invisage.com.

Media/Analyst Contact:
Barbara Hagin
Breakaway Communications for InVisage Technologies, Inc.
415-358-2484 – office
408-832-7626 – mobile
bhagin@breakawaycom.com

InVisage Inc., a Silicon Valley-based startup revolutionizing the image sensor market, today announced that its technology – QuantumFilm™ – has received the International Imaging Industry Association’s (I3A) VISION 2020 Imaging Innovation’s top gold award. QuantumFilm is the world’s first quantum dot-based material for image sensors and enables four times the amount of light to be captured. This allows camera phones and other small form factors to take photographs of unprecedented quality.

This award is particularly important because the VISION 2020 judges are the world’s top imaging experts who have an intimate understanding of the technology and the market. The announcement was made during the 6Sight Mobile Imaging Summit event taking place in San Jose this week.

“We are thrilled and proud to be recognized by our peers in the industry with the gold award from the I3A,” said Jess Lee, CEO of InVisage. “Our amazing team of innovators at InVisage have been working hard to create QuantumFilm and we are very pleased to be acknowledged for our efforts.”

“The QuantumFilm technology is clearly a technological advance that will have significant impact on the industry for many years to come,” said I3A President Lisa Walker. “I3A is pleased to recognize and reward InVisage Technologies’ unique approach to the issues of capturing light in small mobile devices.”

The VISION 2020 entries were evaluated by an independent panel of judges, made up of industry experts, venture capitalists, entrepreneurs and analysts. The judges ranked each entry according to the submission’s relevance to the imaging industry, its potential market impact (does it solve a significant market problem?), the method of impact (how does it bring change to the market?), its uniqueness and its implementation status (how real is it? are there patents, beta programs or proof of concept?).

InVisage developed QuantumFilm for the digital world. Today’s digital image sensors are made with silicon, an inherently inefficient medium for light capture. QuantumFilm transcends silicon’s limitations with a spin coating of quantum-dot material on top of the silicon wafer, while employing the silicon to do what it does best—read out data. Just nanometers in size, the quantum dot material enables unprecedented light capture, and can be made using a standard CMOS manufacturing process. As a result, InVisage is able to offer an image sensor with 4X better performance than anything available on the market, at a market standard price.

I3A (the International Imaging Industry Association) is the leading global association for the imaging industry. The VISION 2020 Imaging Innovation Awards program seeks to energize, recognize and celebrate innovators whose ideas will drive the industry toward a vision of the future of intelligent imaging.


About InVisage Technologies, Inc.

InVisage Technologies, Inc. is a venture-backed fabless semiconductor company based in Menlo Park, Calif. that is developing QuantumFilm, a breakthrough imaging-sensing technology that will replace silicon. Its first product enables high-fidelity, high resolution images from handheld devices like camera phones and digital cameras. Founded in 2006, InVisage Technologies is venture funded by Intel Capital, RockPort Capital, InterWest Partners, OnPoint Technologies and Charles River Ventures. More information is available at www.invisage.com.

About the International Imaging Industry Association (I3A)

I3A’s vision is to enable the use of imaging to simplify and enrich people’s lives through visual experiences that connect generations, communities, information and services. I3A drives the global imaging industry toward this future by bringing members together to create standards and collaborate on initiatives that advance the industry and remove barriers to growth.

For more information, please contact:

Tara Sims

siliconPR for InVisage Technologies, Inc.
tara.sims@siliconpr.com
415 310 5779

MENLO PARK, Calif. and BARCELONA – Mobile World Congress – February 14, 2011 – InVisage Technologies, Inc. – a Silicon Valley-based start-up that is revolutionizing the image sensor market – today announced that it has received its series C round of venture funding, led by Intel Capital. The undisclosed amount will be used to bring the company’s breakthrough QuantumFilm™ technology and products into mass production. Intel Capital joins InVisage’s existing investors RockPort Capital, InterWest Partners, OnPoint Technologies and Charles River Ventures.  “Image sensors for smart phones and handheld devices are a huge market opportunity and InVisage is well positioned to capture significant market share,” says Dave Flanagan, managing director, Intel Capital. “InVisage is the first company in a while to think differently about image sensors and we are confident that its products will lead the imaging market on a new vector of innovation.”

“The image sensor industry as a whole has focused entirely on increasing the number of pixels and has failed to see the big picture. As a result, there has been a lack of new ideas in the market for some time,” says Jess Lee, CEO, InVisage Technologies. “InVisage’s QuantumFilm technology will bring stunning image quality and advanced new features to an industry that is desperate for true innovation.”

QuantumFilm was developed by InVisage after years of research at the University of Toronto and at InVisage. The technology is based on quantum dots – semiconductors with unique light-capture properties. QuantumFilm works by capturing an imprint of a light image, and then employing the silicon beneath it to read out the image and turn it into versatile digital signals. InVisage spent three years engineering the quantum dot material to produce highly-sensitive image sensors that integrate with standard CMOS manufacturing processes. The first application of QuantumFilm will enable high performance in tiny form factors, breaking silicon’s inherent performance-resolution tradeoff.

Initially targeting cameraphone applications, which is the largest and fastest growing portion of the image sensor market, InVisage Technologies’ QuantumFilm will be sampling by summer, and could be in devices early next year. More information on QuantumFilm and InVisage Technologies is available at www.invisage.com.

About InVisage Technologies, Inc.

InVisage Technologies, Inc. is a venture-backed fabless semiconductor company based in Menlo Park, Calif. that is developing QuantumFilm, a breakthrough imaging-sensing technology that will replace silicon. Its first product enables high-fidelity, high resolution images from handheld devices like camera phones and digital cameras. Founded in 2006, InVisage Technologies is venture funded by Intel Capital, RockPort Capital, InterWest Partners, OnPoint Technologies and Charles River Ventures. More information is available at www.invisage.com.

QuantumFilm Receives Top Honors in the Semiconductors Category for Dramatically Improving Image Quality for Handheld Digital Devices

MENLO PARK, Calif., September 27, 2010 – InVisage Technologies, Inc. – a Silicon Valley-based start-up revolutionizing the image sensor market – today announced that its breakthrough technology, QuantumFilm won top honors in The Wall Street Journal 2010 Technology Innovation Award in the semiconductors category. QuantumFilm is the world’s first quantum dot-based material for image sensors, replacing silicon. QuantumFilm captures up to four times more light than traditional silicon-based image sensors, enabling significantly higher quality images from mobile handset cameras.

QuantumFilm is based on quantum dots – a semiconductor material that is nanometers in size – engineered to have unprecedented light-absorbing properties QuantumFilm works by capturing an imprint of a light image, and then employing the silicon beneath it to read out the image and turn it into versatile digital signals. InVisage spent three years engineering the quantum dot material to produce highly sensitive image sensors that integrate with standard CMOS manufacturing, also developed by InVisage. The result is an image sensor that offers remarkable increases in light-capturing efficiencies over existing solutions.

John M. Leger, a Journal news editor who oversees the Innovation Awards, said: “Judges were very impressed with InVisage’s QuantumFilm technology. It should open up a lot of new applications in a variety of consumer products.”

“Our drive to innovate, to find solutions outside the existing image-sensor model is what led us to look beyond traditional silicon,” said Jess Lee, CEO, InVisage Technologies. “By allowing consumers to take high quality photos with handheld digital devices like their cell phone even in low -light, QuantumFilm is poised to become the de-facto next generation camera platform. We are honored to be so prestigiously recognized for our efforts by The Wall Street Journal.”

The Wall Street Journal received nearly 600 entries, with only 8% receiving this award.
Details about the Wall Street Journal 2010 Technology Innovation Awards are available at http://www.WSJ.com/Reports. More information on InVisage Technologies is available at www.invisage.com.

About InVisage Technologies, Inc.

InVisage Technologies, Inc. is a venture-backed fabless semiconductor company based in Menlo Park, Calif. that is developing QuantumFilm, a breakthrough imaging-sensing technology that will replace silicon. Its first product enables high-fidelity, high resolution images from handheld devices like camera phones and PDAs. Founded in 2006, InVisage Technologies is venture funded by RockPort Capital, Charles River Ventures, InterWest Partners, and OnPoint Technologies. More information is available at www.invisage.com.

New QuantumShutter™ Technology Eliminates “Jell-O” Effect Prevalent in Today’s Cameras

MENLO PARK, Calif., September 24, 2010 – InVisage Technologies, Inc. – a Silicon Valley-based start-up that is revolutionizing the image sensor market – today announced QuantumShutter™, a new technology that eliminates the “rolling shutter” effect that has plagued today’s digital camera industry. Also known as “wobble” and “Jell-O,” rolling shutter causes an image to bend, slant or skew when photographing a moving object with either a still or video camera. InVisage is the first and only company to solve the rolling shutter effect in any device, from high-end cameras like digital SLRs to small everyday devices like cameraphones.

In 2009, image sensors were a $4.6 billion* market. Of this market, CMOS image sensors make up the lion’s sharebecause they require less cost, power and space – from DSLRs, security cameras, medical devices, automobiles to cameraphones. However, they do pose some technical challenges. Traditional CMOS image sensors read images from top to bottom. If something is moving faster than the image can be read (think of a swinging golf club, a moving propeller or a speeding race car) the object being captured will have moved before the sensor can complete its read out. This phenomenon, called rolling shutter, causes image distortion.

InVisage’s QuantumShutter solves this problem by using a portion of the silicon to store the image “charge” so the entire image is captured at the exact same moment. Because of its QuantumFilm™ technology, announced earlier this year,InVisage is the only image sensor company that has the extra silicon space needed for a storage node. QuantumFilm is a quantum dot-based light absorber that sits on top of the pixel, employing the silicon beneath it to read out the image. InVisage spent three years engineering the quantum dot material to produce highly-sensitive image sensors that integrate with standard CMOS manufacturing processes.

“While other image sensor companies have been focused on increasing the number of pixels, InVisage is focused on bringing completely new thinking and technologies to CMOS image sensors – like tackling rolling shutter,” says Jess Lee, CEO, InVisage Technologies. “InVisage’s QuantumShutter will bring better and more reliable picture quality to an industry that is desperate for innovation.”

QuantumShutter provides compelling advantages for both video and still camera applications. The technology serves the same purpose as a mechanical shutter like those found in high-end cameras such as digital SLRs. Mechanical shutters, while highly desirable, are expensive, have a high rate of mechanical failure, and add height and weight. QuantumShutter enables the same capability, but without the need for moving parts.

“In 2010, we expect sales of more than one billion cameras that use CMOS image sensors, and it is growing,” says Dr. Tom Hausken, director of photonics and compound semiconductors at Strategies Unlimited. “This creates a huge opportunity for new technologies like InVisage’s QuantumShutter that offer advancements over traditional CMOS image sensors.”

Initially targeting cameraphone applications, which is the largest and fastest growing portion of the image sensor market, InVisage Technologies’ QuantumShutter will be available later this year as an optional feature with the first samples of its QuantumFilm-based image sensors. More information on QuantumShutter, QuantumFilm and InVisage Technologies is available at www.invisage.com

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About InVisage Technologies, Inc.

InVisage Technologies, Inc. is a venture-backed fabless semiconductor company based in Menlo Park, Calif. that is developing QuantumFilm, a breakthrough imaging-sensing technology that will replace silicon. Its first product enables high-fidelity, high resolution images from handheld devices like camera phones and PDAs. Founded in 2006, InVisage Technologies is venture funded by RockPort Capital, Charles River Ventures, InterWest Partners, and OnPoint Technologies. More information is available at www.invisage.com

* 2010 CCD & CMOS Area Image Sensor Market Analysis, Techno Systems Research Co., Ltd

[original story reprinted below]

Nanotechnology could improve the quality of mobile-phone cameras

CAMERA-PHONES, a gimmick and a luxury a few years ago, have become ubiquitous. The International Telecommunications Union estimates that 4.6 billion mobile phones are in use at the moment. Of those, more than a billion are equipped with cameras, according to Tom Hausken, an analyst at Strategies Unlimited, a market research firm based in Mountain View, California. Dr Hausken estimates that some 800m camera-phones will be sold this year.

Yet most of the photos taken with these phones will be grainy and of low resolution—fine for capturing the essence of a moment to send to friends and family, but not good enough to frame for the wall. The reason is that both camera and lens have to be small, to fit with all the other gubbins on a phone. A typical camera-phone is equipped with a one- or two-megapixel silicon-based camera chip that is about 8mm across. Phone cameras with up to five megapixels are becoming available, but InVisage, a small firm based in Menlo Park, California, hopes to leap from that to a photographically respectable 12 megapixels, without an increase in size or cost, by adding tiny crystals called quantum dots to the process.

In a typical camera-phone, the image is focused by the lens onto a photosensitive silicon chip. Light striking this detector liberates electrons from some of the silicon atoms, producing an electrical signal that is converted by the chip’s electronics into a picture. Silicon, however, is not the best material for sensing light. Its physical properties (its narrow bandgap, in physics parlance) mean that it sometimes releases electrons even though no light has fallen on it, resulting in a noisy image. On top of that, the way chips are made requires the incoming light to pass through circuitry that has been deposited on to the silicon, reducing the level of illumination.

InVisage’s approach is to build the photodetector out of quantum dots on the surface of a chip, above the circuitry. A quantum dot is a semiconducting crystal just a few nanometres (billionths of a metre) across that can be engineered to absorb light of a particular colour by changing its size. The larger the dot, the redder the light it absorbs; the smaller, conversely, the bluer. Placing the quantum dots on top of the electronics means more pixels can be crammed into a given area and less incoming light is lost. Moreover, photodetectors based on quantum dots produce less noisy images, so the picture is sharper even if the number of pixels is not increased.

Edward Sargent, InVisage’s chief technology officer and a professor of optoelectronics at the University of Toronto, says his firm’s quantum dots are made of metal chalcogenides (which are a combination of metals such as zinc, indium, bismuth and lead with selenium, sulphur or tellurium). The dots are synthesised in a paint-like colloidal suspension which is then coated on to silicon wafers before they are cut up into chips.

In addition to using them in camera-phones, Dr Sargent is working on employing quantum dots to make solar cells. He thinks cells made this way will be comparable in cost to organic solar cells (themselves much cheaper than traditional silicon ones) while being at least twice as efficient. But commercialisation of quantum-dot solar cells is still a few years away. For the moment, he is concentrating on camera-phones.

[original story reprinted below]

Don Clark

Most cellphones can take pictures, but their resolution lags far behind the images created by more costly digital cameras. InVisage hopes to change that.

The Silicon Valley startup says it can bring a four-fold improvement in the performance of cellphone cameras with little increase in cost. InVisage, which has been laboring in secrecy since 2006, opted to make a fundamental break from a semiconductor technology that has been a mainstay in cameras.

Conventional cameras–remember those?–record pictures on film. Early digital cameras replaced film with silicon-based light sensors known as CCDs, for charge-coupled devices, a technology that is still used in some high-resolution cameras. But digital cameras really became ubiquitous with the rise of image sensors made using CMOS–or complementary metal oxide semiconductor–the technology used in turning most silicon wafers into chips.

CMOS image sensors are inexpensive, and have improved in performance. But they are fundamentally limited, says InVisage CEO Jess Lee, by the fact that they capture roughly 25% of the light that are exposed to. “Silicon was never designed to capture light,” he says. “But it’s a great platform for electronics.”

His company set out to find a substitute that was more sensitive to light but could be combined easily with other CMOS circuitry. It seized upon quantum dots, extremely small crystals of semiconducting material that researchers can tune to modify their electronic and optical properties. They are often made using combinations of elements such as zinc, sulphur, cadmium and selenium (Lee is holding back exactly what elements InVisage is using).

InVisage embeds the dots in a polymer that can be applied to wafers that have already been processed to create CMOS components, which handle other jobs like taking the captured image and turning it into digital signals. The company calls its added layer “quantum film,” and estimates its light-capturing efficiency at 90% to 95%.

How does the material translate into products a consumer might encounter? To take one measure, if most cellphones have cameras rated at 1 to 3 megapixels, InVisage is figuring its technology will deliver “way north” of 5 megapixels, Lee says. “The question is, is it eight or 12 or potentially higher?” he says.

Variables include what specifications camera makers ask for, and what generation of semiconductor manufacturing technology is used, he says. The company is not disclosing pricing, but Lee expects its image sensors to fit in the $5 to $10 range of camera modules now used in cellphones.

InVisage, whose founders are veterans of prior CMOS image sensor businesses, expects to deliver sample quantities of its chips in the fourth quarter. Mass production is expected in mid-2011, Lee says. The company is unveiling the technology formally at the Demo conference, which kicks off Monday morning in Palm Desert, Calif.