Website of

Eric R. Fossum


Eric R. Fossum is best known for the invention of the CMOS image sensor “camera-on-a-chip” used in billions of cameras, from smart phones to web cameras to pill cameras and many other applications. He is a solid-state image sensor device physicist and engineer, and his career has included academic and government research, and entrepreneurial leadership. He is currently a Professor with the Thayer School of Engineering at Dartmouth in Hanover, New Hampshire where he teaches, performs research on the Quanta Image Sensor (QIS), and directs the School’s Ph.D. Innovation Program. He also serves as Dartmouth’s Associate Provost for Entrepreneurship and Technology Transfer.


In 2017 Fossum received the Queen Elizabeth Prize from HRH Prince Charles, essentially the Nobel Prize of Engineering, along with Teranishi, Tompsett and Smith for the creation of digital imaging sensors. He was inducted into the National Inventors Hall of Fame in 2011, elected to the National Academy of Engineering and selected as a Charter Fellow of the National Academy of Inventors. Other honors include the NASA Exceptional Achievement Medal, the IEEE Andrew Grove Award and Medal, the Distinguished Eagle Scout Award and Medal, the Royal Photographic Society's Progress Medal, the American Photographic Society’s Progress Medal, the SMPTE Camera Origination and Imaging Medal, and the National Science Foundation Presidential Young Investigator Award. He was awarded Yale’s Wilbur Cross Medal and Trinity College’s Alumni Medal for Excellence. An early Photobit sensor and camera is on display at the Smithsonian National Museum of American History’s Inventing in America exhibit and he served as an AAAS-Lemelson Invention Ambassador.


Born and raised in Connecticut, he received his B.S. in Physics and Engineering from Trinity College in Hartford and the Ph.D. in Engineering and Applied Science from Yale University. He was a member of Columbia University’s Electrical Engineering faculty and then joined the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology where he managed JPL’s image sensor and focal-plane technology research and advanced development. While at JPL, he invented the intra-pixel charge transfer CMOS active-pixel-sensor camera-on-a-chip technology and led its development and subsequent transfer of the technology to US industry. Nearly all the 4 billion CMOS cameras made each year use the intra-pixel charge transfer invention. Dr. Fossum co-founded Photobit Corporation to commercialize the technology and served in several top management roles including Chairman and CEO. Photobit was acquired by Micron Technology Inc. He was Chairman and CEO of Siimpel Corporation developing MEMS-based camera modules with autofocus and shutter functions for cell phones. He was a consultant with Samsung Electronics working on 3D image sensors as well as strategic issues for several years before joining Dartmouth.


Fossum has published over 300 technical papers and holds 165 US patents. He co-founded the International Image Sensor Society (IISS) and was its first President. He is a Fellow member of the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers (IEEE), a Fellow member of the Optical Society of America (OSA), and a member of the Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers (SMPTE) and the AAAS.


He volunteers on the Board of Directors of the National Academy of Inventors and the International Image Sensor Society, and the Board of Trustees of Trinity College. He has served on the Leadership Council of the Yale University School of Engineering and Applied Science, the Peer Selection Committee for the NAE, the Fellow Selection Committee of the NAI, and the selection committee and Board for the National Inventors Hall of Fame (NIHF). He also supports Camp Invention and the Collegiate Inventors Competition, two programs operated by NIHF.


Site Links

Curriculum VitaePublicationsPatents NIHF Video

Video Interviews Some Presentations Some Articles of Interest


External Links

Profile at DartmouthProfile at Google Scholar

Thayer School of Engineering at Dartmouth




Updated 18 February 2018