Rochester scientists receive Technology Emmy® Awards for revolutionary color sensing technology

Peter Dillon and Albert Brault recognized for developing integral color image sensors, now used to create television shows and selfies

ROCHESTER, N.Y., March 27, 2019 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Mr. Peter Dillon and Dr. Albert Brault will receive Technology Emmy® Awards from the National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences for their “Pioneering Development of the Single-Chip Color Camera” on April 7th in Las Vegas, NV.  Their inventions include coating a mosaic of color filters over the light sensitive pixels on an image sensor and developing demosaicing algorithms to generate color video images. This technology is widely used to produce television programs and movies.  It’s also used to create color photos and video clips in a broad range of products, including smart phone cameras, drones, and medical imaging devices.   

Peter Dillon said “We’re delighted to receive this recognition for our research.  We’d like to thank all our team members, who helped us develop and demonstrate the world’s first integral color image sensors and cameras.  It’s amazing what a revolution this has created in how people around the world use color images to communicate.” 

Albert Brault said “By combining my knowledge of chemistry with Peter’s understanding of solid-state electronics, we created a new way of sensing color images.  We were fortunate to have all the support and infrastructure needed to turn our ideas into working devices.  Decades later, we’re thrilled that Rochester remains the world’s center for photonics and imaging.”

In early 1974, while at Kodak Research Labs (KRL), Dillon lead a team developing an early prototype color video camcorder.  Instead of the conventional design using a large color prism and three CCD (charge coupled device) sensors, he conceived the idea of fabricating a color filter mosaic over the individual pixels of a single CCD.  Dr. Brault, his KRL colleague, then perfected a process for coating organic color dyes through photoresist windows during wafer fabrication.  To determine the optimum color pattern, Peter consulted KRL mathematician Bryce Bayer, who invented the checkerboard arrangement now known as the “Bayer Pattern”.   These visionary ideas made capturing color digital images inexpensive and ubiquitous.  Today, nearly everyone carries the technology they developed in their purse or pocket, since billions of integral color sensors are used each year in smart phones.

Dillon presented a paper, co-authored by Dr. Brault, describing the world's first single-chip color sensor in December 1976 at the IEEE International Electron Device meeting in Washington D.C.  The auditorium was packed with scientists from the leading semiconductor and video camera manufacturers.  Afterwards, many visited KRL to learn about this important imaging breakthrough.  

The research building where Dillon and Brault worked was expanded in the early 1980s to manufacture the world’s first color megapixel imagers, which were used in many pioneering digital cameras.   The facility is used today by ON Semiconductor to fabricate world-class color CCD image sensors with up to 50 Megapixels. The building is also home to the AIM Photonics Test, Assembly, and Packaging facility for integrated silicon photonics devices.

Todd Gustavson, Curator of the Technology Collection at the George Eastman Museum, said “The color sensor technology developed by Peter Dillon and Albert Brault has revolutionized all forms of color photography.  These color sensors are now ubiquitous in products such as smart phone cameras, digital cameras and camcorders, digital cinema cameras, medical cameras, automobile cameras, and drones. We’re fortunate to have some of their original color sensors and their first color camera head as highlights of our technology collection.”

Dr. Terry Taber, Chief Technical Officer & Senior Vice-President, Kodak, said “On behalf of Kodak, I’d like to congratulate Peter Dillon and Albert Brault for receiving this important and well-deserved award.   The industry recognition they have received demonstrates how Kodak was at the center of one of the most important milestones in digital imaging.”

Herb Erhardt, General Manager of the Image Sensor Group of ON Semiconductor, said “The integral color sensors invented by Peter Dillon and Albert Brault in the 1970s evolved into the wide range of color sensors that are now used in so many different types of professional and consumer products.  Today, ON Semiconductor is fabricating world class color CCD sensors at the same Rochester location where Peter and Al created the world’s first single-chip color sensors and cameras.”

Dr. Sujatha Ramanujan, Managing Director of Luminate, said “Rochester continues to be an epicenter for discovery and progress in photonics, with Dillion and Brault at the forefront of the leaders in this field.  Their innovations and thinking are an inspiration to entrepreneurs here and across the globe, including those in the Luminate accelerator who are solving today’s most difficult problems in photonics and imaging.”

Robert Seidel, Chair, Technology & Engineering Achievement of The National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences said “The single-chip color sensors and video cameras pioneered by Peter Dillon and Albert Brault decades ago have materially affected today’s television viewing experience.  We are especially excited to honor them at our Gala on April 7.” 

Luminate is a startup accelerator focused on advancing next-generation optics, photonics, and imaging enabled companies. Located in Rochester, Luminate is funded by the New York State Finger Lakes Forward Initiative and is administered by NextCorps. For more information, visit Press contact:  Holly Barrett,

Founded in 1947, the George Eastman Museum is the world’s oldest photography museum and one of the largest film archives in the United States, located on the historic Rochester estate of entrepreneur and philanthropist George Eastman, the pioneer of popular photography. For more information, visit 

Kodak is a technology company focused on imaging which provides - directly and through partnerships with other innovative companies - hardware, software, consumables and services to customers in graphic arts, commercial print, publishing, packaging, entertainment and commercial films, and consumer products markets. For more information, visit

ON Semiconductor is driving energy efficient innovations, empowering customers to reduce global energy use. The company is a leading supplier of semiconductor-based solutions, offering a comprehensive portfolio of energy efficient, power management, analog, sensors, logic, timing, connectivity, discrete, SoC and custom devices.  For more information, visit  

The National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences is a service organization dedicated to the advancement of the arts and sciences of television and the promotion of creative leadership for artistic, educational and technical achievements within the television industry.  It recognizes excellence in television with the coveted Emmy® Award. For more information, visit 

Photos accompanying this announcement are available at:

CCD Image Sensor Single-Chip Color Camera 2019 Technology Emmy® Award Winners