The invention of nanocrystal semiconductors -- more commonly called quantum dots
-- has spurred scientists to create everything from precisely-colored LED lamps
to higher-density flash memory
. There's also been some talk of applying a solution of the tiny crystals to create higher sensitivity cameras
, and according to a company named InVisage, that latter utility is almost ready for commercial production. By smearing light-amplifying quantum dots onto the existing CMOS sensors used in cell phone cameras like so much strawberry jam, InVisage claims it will offer smartphone sensors that have four times the performance and twice the dynamic range of existing chips by the end of the year, and roll out the conveyor belts in late 2011, just in time for the contract to end on your terrible new cameraphone.