News Release

June 1, 2023

Canon Inc.

Canon SPAD sensor journal article receives Walter Kosonocky Award from industry's leading academic technological organization

TOKYO, June 1, 2023—Canon Inc. announced today that a journal article published by the company was presented with the Walter Kosonocky Award1 on May 25by the International Image Sensor Society (IISS), a leading academic technological organization in the image sensor industry. The journal article was presented with the award in recognition of the significant contributions it has made to image sensor technology, and was chosen from among many such articles presented at academic conferences and published in journals around the world during the past two years, making this award a truly international honor.

3.2 megapixel SPAD sensor (prototype)

The Walter Kosonocky Award-winning article by Canon was presented in 2021 at the International Electron Devices Meeting (IEDM) conference, the most prestigious international academic conference in the field of semiconductor devices. The journal article2 announced that Canon had completed the world’s first3 3.2 megapixel SPAD sensor.

SPAD sensors employ a technology known as “photon counting4”, in which light particles (photons) that enter each individual pixel are counted. When even a single photon enters a pixel, it is instantly amplified approximately 1 million times and output as an electrical signal. The signal readout of CMOS sensors, which measure the amount of light that reaches the pixel within a given time, inevitably contains noise that diminishes image quality. However, signal readout of SPAD sensors is free of noise as every single photon can be digitally counted. In addition, SPAD sensors can detect, with extremely high accuracy, the moment when photons reach the pixels, making possible accurate measurement of a subject’s distance and speed. Leveraging these characteristics, SPAD sensors hold great potential for use in a wide variety of applications including autonomous driving, medical diagnostic imaging and scientific measurement.

Going forward, Canon will continue to contribute to the safety and security of society by leveraging the advantages of SPAD sensors, including high resolution that surpasses full HD, high sensitivity even with minimal ambient light, and fast response, in such Canon products as network cameras for security purposes.

  • 1

    Established in 1997 in honor of Walter Kosonocky, the inventor of the charge-coupled device (CCD), a component used in such devices as digital cameras.

  • 2

    Journal article title: 3.2 Megapixel 3D-Stacked Charge Focusing SPAD for Low-Light Imaging and Depth Sensing. Available at:

  • 3

    Among SPAD sensors. Based on Canon research

  • 4

    For a detailed explanation of the differences between SPAD sensors and CMOS sensors, please visit Canon’s technology website at: