Eric R. Fossum is best known for the invention of the CMOS image sensor “camera-on-a-chip” used in billions of cameras. 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 the John H. Krehbiel Sr. Professor for Emerging Technologies at the Thayer School of Engineering at Dartmouth, directs Dartmouth’s Ph.D. Innovation Programs and serves as Dartmouth’s Vice Provost for Entrepreneurship and Technology Transfer.
Born and raised in Connecticut, he attended public school in Simsbury and spent Saturdays at the Talcott Mountain Science Center in Avon. He received his B.S. in Physics and Engineering from Trinity College in Hartford and a 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. 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 the US industry. Nearly all smartphones and other cameras today 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. He serves as Chairman of Gigajot Technology, a company he co-founded out of Dartmouth.
In 2017 Dr. Fossum received the Queen Elizabeth Prize from HRH Prince Charles, considered by many as the Nobel Prize of Engineering “for the creation of digital imaging sensors,” along with three others. He was inducted into the National Inventors Hall of Fame, and elected to the National Academy of Engineering among other honors. Dr. Fossum has published over 300 technical papers and holds 170 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) and the Optical Society of America (OSA).
He volunteers on the International Image Sensor Society Board of Directors, the Board of Trustees of Trinity College, the Selection Committee and Selection Board for the National Inventors Hall of Fame (NIHF), and the Board of Trustees for the Talcott Mountain Science Center and Academy. He has served on the Board of Directors of the National Academy of Inventors, 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.