What is a Charge Coupled Device

A charge-coupled device (CCD) is an image sensor, consisting of an integrated circuit containing an array of linked, or coupled, light-sensitive capacitors. This device is also known as a Color-Capture Device.
The capacitor perspective is reflective of the history of the development of the CCD and also is indicative of its general mode of operation, with respect to readout, but attempts aimed at optimization of present CCD designs and structures tend towards consideration of the photodiode as the fundamental collecting unit of the CCD. Under the control of an external circuit, each capacitor can transfer its electric charge to one or other of its neighbours. CCDs are used in digital photography and astronomy (particularly in photometry, sensors, medical fluoroscopy, optical and UV spectroscopy and high speed techniques such as lucky imaging).
The CCD was invented in 1969 by Willard Boyle and George E. Smith at AT&T Bell Labs. The lab was working on the picture phone and on the development of semiconductor bubble memory. Merging these two initiatives, Boyle and Smith conceived of the design of what they termed ‘Charge “Bubble” Devices’. The essence of the design was the ability to transfer charge along surface of a semiconductor. As the CCD started its life as a memory device, one could only “inject” charge into the device at an input register. However, it was immediately clear that the CCD could receive charge via the photoelectric effect and electronic images could be created. By 1970 Bell researchers were able to capture images with simple linear devices; thus the CCD was born. Several companies, including Fairchild Semiconductor, RCA and Texas Instruments, picked up on the invention and began development programs. Fairchild was the first with commercial devices and by 1974 had a linear 500 element device and a 2-D 100 x 100 pixel device. Under the leadership of Kazuo Iwama, Sony also started a big development effort on CCDs involving a lot of money. Eventually, Sony managed to mass produce CCDs for their camcorders. Before this happened, Iwama died in August 1982. Subsequently, a CCD chip was placed on his tombstone to acknowledge his contribution.[citations needed]
In January 2006, Boyle and Smith received the Charles Stark Draper Prize which is presented by the National Academy of Engineering for their work on the CCD.