In terms of an integrated circuit, what is the term for a chip that is used in a camera to detect light?

I hope this photo helps. What is the technichal term for the light sensitive IC in a camera?

Enter image description here

  • 3
    \$\begingroup\$ Photo could be a bit more in focus. \$\endgroup\$
    – dext0rb
    Apr 7, 2015 at 22:58
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ In my next life Ill be a photographer \$\endgroup\$
    – j0h
    Apr 7, 2015 at 23:45

3 Answers 3


This is called an image sensor.

This particular image sensor in your picture is a CMOS image sensor, commonly found in pretty much anywhere a small to medium sized camera is used, as well in some big and/or professional gear. The camera in your phone is almost certainly a CMOS image sensor. It is probably also the type of sensor captured the image you posted here.

The other major type of image sensors besides CMOS is CCD, which is an older (but in no way inferior) technology and commonly found in older gear as well as more professional digital photography gear now.

In the construction of a digital camera, the image sensor is placed where photographic film used to be placed in traditional film cameras. Some modern DSLR even accepts lens assemblies from those film cameras (like the one I occasionally used which took over the set of lenses from my older film SLR.)


The general term would be an image sensor, the underlying technology would either be a CMOS sensor (a.k.a. active pixel sensor), or a charge coupled device (CCD). I have no idea which of the two it is based on your image.

  • \$\begingroup\$ Noticed the SO-8 footprint below the sensor? That sensor size screams CMOS to me. Even if it is a DIP-8 it is still too small to be a CCD one. \$\endgroup\$ Apr 7, 2015 at 18:21
  • \$\begingroup\$ @MaxthonChan ... There are some pretty small CCD sensors out there. For example (not what is in the picture): ti.com/lit/ds/socs037c/socs037c.pdf (1.7 x 2.7mm) \$\endgroup\$
    – Tut
    Apr 7, 2015 at 18:50

I'd call it an image sensor: -

enter image description here

You can also call it a pixel array. See this site for more details

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    \$\begingroup\$ "Staring array" and "focal plane array" are yet other terms, most commonly encountered in scientific contexts. \$\endgroup\$ Apr 7, 2015 at 22:02

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