S. Boyle and George E. Smith invented the charge-coupled device
(CCD), a light-sensitive microchip that enabled dramatic advances
in digital imaging technology. CCDs are found in most imaging devices
including digital cameras, scanners, and fax machines.
in Nova Scotia, Boyle was home schooled until grade nine. After
training as a pilot for the Canadian Navy during World War II,
he went on to earn a Ph.D. from McGill University, Montreal. While
working at Bell Labs in 1969, Boyle and Smith sketched out the
basic CCD in about an hour, and built a working prototype in under
charge-coupled device stores information in discrete packets of
electric charge in columns of closely spaced semiconductor capacitors.
Stored information is read by shifting stored charges down the
columns, one position at a time. The CCDs' ultra-sensitivity to
light makes it an important tool for scientists. Most telescopes,
including the Hubble Space Telescope, rely on CCDs for electronic
major contributions include the first continuously operating ruby
laser and the first patent proposing a semiconductor injection
laser. At Bellcomm, Inc., Boyle helped identify landing sites
for NASA's manned lunar space program.
Vinton G. Cerf
Robert E. Kahn
Robert W. Gore
Richard M. Hoe
John H. Thomas