So I know a digital camera takes light and focuses it via the lens onto a sensor made out of silicon. It is made up of a grid of tiny photosites that are sensitive to light. Each photosite is usually called a pixel, a contraction of "picture element". I was wondering, even if it is as small as 100x100 pixels or even smaller, is it possible to build my own grid of tiny photosites at home out of silicon and use that to make a digital camera? I know you can go out and buy them but I am trying not to use premade parts for this project only raw materials, machinery and other thing(transistors, diodes, resistors etc.) Is it possible to build one of these silicon grids at home? If so how?
Because discrete photo-sensitive components (LDR or photo-transistor, or PV cells or whatever) have significant physical size, you will end up with VERY LOW effective resolution because the space between the sensors will likely be much larger than the sensitive areas themselves.
Not to mention the issue of scanning/multiplexing, etc. 10,000 or more sensors.
If you mean actually creating an array of photo-sensitive diodes (or whatever) into a MONOLITHIC silicon substrate, then it would appear that the old rule applies: If you have to ask, you probably can't do it. It takes millions of $$$ worth of very specialized equipment to process IC wafers.
Not to mention cleanroom environment, and knowledge of design and manufacturing techniques. Not to mention raw materials (wafers, dopants, gases) that would be very difficult to source if you are not in the industry and have big piles of money.
The most practical approach is to find small SMD photo-diodes and build a grid of them. You then need to find a way of reading them.
Building your own wafer from scratch is not feasible. Surprisingly you can buy blank ones on ebay, but the chemical processing is nasty and requires a clean room and at least a chemistry degree.
As an alternative approach you could consider using one decent sensor and moving it with an X-Y motion to "scan" the focal plane behind the lens. This would, of course, be rather slow and, so, only suitable for static scenes. The beauty of it is that you read only one pixel at any time.
- Make a "camera" box big enough to hold your X-Y motion. Paint the inside black to prevent reflections.
- Position a lens the correct distance away to focus the image on the plane of the sensor. You will need a view port to check this.
- Mount the sensor on the X-Y and connect it to your micro analog port.
- Have your micro move the X-Y motion in a back and forth scanning motion and record the brightness reading from the sensor to memory.
It sounds like a lot of work.
DIY Photolithography in your garage Guide.
- You can build plasma-induced Hg machine for photolithography by yourself. Nothing ultra-hardcore about it! You need Hg lamp. Make appropriate skills in chemistry and glass blowing or... better just buy one. 180nm is sufficient.
- Building machine for injection of metal into surface is the real problem, because you need to modulate magnetic field for that. A lot of physics is required from you for that part! Some solenoids and you are good.
- Etching is the real task... even more.... You need to make strong laser for evaporation. But the best way is to use plasma. Create your own plasma controlled by field. Hardcore? This one is NIGHTMARE. If you didn't finish QED course.