Willard S. Boyle
The Nobel Prize in Physics 2009
Born: 19 August 1924, Amherst, NS, Canada
Died: 7 May 2011, Truro, NS, Canada
Affiliation at the time of the award: Bell Laboratories, Murray Hill, NJ, USA
Prize motivation: "for the invention of an imaging semiconductor circuit - the CCD sensor."
Prize share: 1/4
The ability to store images in a digital format is an important prerequisite for information technology. In 1969 Willard Boyle and George Smith sketched an electronic memory design, but their concept instead became the basis for a light sensitive charge coupled device, or CCD. In the sensor there is a grid of light sensitive cells that emit electrons when exposed to light, causing the cells to become electrically charged. When a voltage is applied to the cells, electrical signals are generated, which are used to build up a digital image. CCD was a breakthrough for digital camera technology.
Their work and discoveries range from cancer therapy and laser physics to developing proteins that can solve humankind’s chemical problems. The work of the 2018 Nobel Laureates also included combating war crimes, as well as integrating innovation and climate with economic growth. Find out more.