In the heart of Southern California, SeeDevice Inc. is making waves by developing a QMOS™ (quantum effect CMOS) SWIR image sensor. Established in 2017 by Dr. Hoon Kim, SeeDevice’s technology was developed to extend the range of pure CMOS (Complementary metal-oxide-semiconductor) sensors by leveraging quantum tunneling and plasmonic phenomenon. Such a combination offers the ability to view beyond visible light into the Short-Wave Infrared (SWIR) region while eliminating high production costs related to exotic material-based SWIR sensors.
Dr. Kim earned his Ph.D. from the University of Tokyo under the supervision of Esaki-Tsu and Sakaki, Nobel Prize winners for quantum tunneling and its phenomena. While in attendance, he conducted research on the use of quantum dots and superlattice structures in single-electron tunneling memories and single-photon detection devices, ultimately serving as the backbone of quantum image sensors. After receiving his doctorate in Electrical and Electronic Engineering, Dr. Kim went on to work on the proprietary technology that is used in SeeDevice’s QMOS™ sensor.
While serving as the Director of Quantum Nanoscale Device Research Center at KETI (Korea Electronics Technology Institute), Dr. Kim was able to perfect the utilization of quantum technology in image sensors. Furthermore, while teaching at the University of Utah in the U.S., he directed research groups on similar image sensor functionality and their possible applications. Dr. Kim said, “Many of those applications were published in scholarly journals including our work on quantum technologies to overcome the limitations of CMOS sensors.”
After securing numerous patents covering his specific image sensor’s structure capabilities and applications, Dr. Kim founded SeeDevice Inc. The company serves to further expand the pioneering technology he has devoted years to working on to share it with the world. Meeting several like-minded individuals who showed interest in the possibilities of sensor technology based on quantum technology further validated his decision that it was the best idea to start SeeDevice.
SeeDevice stands at the forefront of the industry, providing a spectral range of 200-1650nm, wide dynamic range, vast scalability, nanosecond integration time, and high sensitivity to offer unparalleled performance for customers’ needs. “Our sensor employs proprietary technology based on quantum mechanics, extending beyond the visible range of CMOS sensors into the SWIR region of the light spectrum. Unlike silicon-based CMOS sensors that require additional manufacturing processes like exotic materials to detect SWIR wavelengths, our sensor overcomes these limitations by integrating our patented sensor structure into a traditional CMOS format” said Dr. Kim.
This enables QMOS™ to attain high performance while maintaining the standard CMOS process, allowing SeeDevice to price its sensors below legacy technologies.
SeeDevice’s mission is to pioneer the CMOS-SWIR image sensor industry through innovations in quantum sensing technology. The four core company values are One SeeDevice, Customer Orientation, Inclusion & Safety, and Truth & Transparency. At SeeDevice, management aims to cultivate an environment where everyone feels respected, heard, and included. This is also reflected in customer interactions, where transparency and teamwork are made a priority.
Dr. Kim explains, “For our first core value, SeeDevice maintains a “we” attitude in the decisions we make for the betterment of the company and our team.” SeeDevice’s customer-oriented value builds on the “One SeeDevice” belief since projects are tackled as an entire team, ensuring the most carefully crafted sensing solution for the customer.
Employee confidence in being respected and valued is imperative to the team-oriented work SeeDevice engages in daily. This also translates into better customer interactions, with the priority being the voice and understanding of their client.
Finally, transparency between employees and customers guarantees accurate results and unmistakable communication. Discussing how a company can be successful, Dr. Kim wrote, “I believe that being honest about our development progress is how one can gain trust and maintain interest in our technology. Honesty is how we fix problems faster and develop strong relationships with future clients. By combining our core values, we have built a company that inspires innovation and leads the future of image sensing.”
Dr. Kim’s previous experience as a scientist and professor has led him to maintain a transformational leadership style with the SeeDevice team. The style aids him in better leading his team regarding problems or questions they face working on QMOS™. Dr. Kim’s hands-on approach is reflected in his explanations based on his in-depth knowledge and expertise of key concepts of SeeDevice technology to all levels of staff, so each member has an opportunity to understand and explain the benefits SeeDevice brings to the image sensor market.
In his leadership style, Dr. Kim believes that “If they can understand the theory or mechanics of the technology, it can be easily explained to others who have yet to hear about our technology and gain even more interest. I try to spend as much time as I can explaining the history, theory, and intricacies of our technology to both engineers and non-engineers alike so every member can be an expert.”
It is crucial for the team to comprehend why and how the company’s products stand out from competitors. SeeDevice’s non-engineering teams have all been educated to high competency on all concepts of SeeDevice technology to build a stronger, more cohesive, and knowledgeable team led by Dr. Kim.
Passion and time drive the best innovators in their respective fields. Having gained more than 25 years of experience in academic research and development in nano-engineered semiconductor technologies, Dr. Kim is now at the forefront of technological breakthroughs. Additionally, his experience in education as a professor has allowed him to encourage employees to push the boundaries of technological comprehension.
The pursuit to continuously improve and discover innovative technologies is how Dr. Kim has found himself as the linchpin and innovator of the semiconductor industry and SWIR sensing space.
According to a research report provided by Consegic Business Intelligence, the CMOS market was worth USD 19.3 billion in 2022 and is anticipated to reach over USD 28.5 billion by the year 2030, growing at a CAGR of 5.30%. The demand for CMOS and SWIR image sensors in various industries across biomedical, automotive, surveillance, agriculture, consumer products like mobile phones, and machine vision is augmenting along with their importance.
On the topic of available SWIR sensors, Dr. Kim expressed, “We expect to see continued development in InGaAs and Germanium sensors to increase detection in the SWIR region, however, they cannot compare with pure CMOS construction in affordability and scalability.” With global technology businesses shifting focus to quantum technologies, there may be a surge in funding toward research of such technologies.
SeeDevice has strategically positioned itself ahead of the curve, as it plans to begin production on its QMOS™ sensors and be integrated into countless applications. As the pioneer of quantum CMOS technology, the company expects this technology to obtain industry favor for its lower production costs, ultra-high SWIR performance, and adaptability with current systems.
Based on the research conducted by the International Diabetes Federation, in 2021 about 10.5% of adults globally were diagnosed as diabetic. Traditional CGM (continuous glucose monitoring) is based on finger pricking to test blood glucose levels. This process is inconvenient and can be potentially unhygienic.
Alternatives to this method, like patches, are invasive, expensive, and need to be replaced every few days or weeks. With diabetes diagnoses increasing daily, there is a growing demand for technology that aids diabetics in better managing their disease affordably.
SeeDevice expects many competing non-invasive continuous glucose monitoring (NI-CGM) technologies to penetrate the market around the same time, however, SeeDevice’s NI-CGM device aims to enter the market at far more affordable costs given QMOS™’s high scalability. Several businesses will be close to completion in a few years, saturating the market, and eliminating the need for finger pricking and other techniques for monitoring blood glucose levels.
“Other technologies such as CGM implants may compete with NI-CGM devices, advertising a more ‘set it and forget it’ approach to monitoring, although still requiring injection and retrieval every few years. We plan to enter the market as a smart band/watch wearable device that will display glucose measurements continuously to the user via display and app. We also plan to integrate other biometrics such as heart rate for a better understanding of one’s health at any given time,” said Dr. Kim.
With SeeDevice’s affordable sensor technology, the company plans to revolutionize the NI-CGM industry by providing mass-produced, accessible wearables at a cost significantly lower than rivals. This will provide the company with a majority stake in the global markets, with plans to collaborate with health ministries across the globe, bringing NI-CGM to the masses.
Description of the Company: SeeDevice is a company focused on developing QMOS™ (quantum effect CMOS) SWIR image sensors.
Pull Quote: “Our sensor employs proprietary technology based on quantum mechanics, extending beyond the visible range of CMOS sensors into the SWIR region of the light spectrum.”
Company Name: SeeDevice Inc.
Founding Year: 2017
Office Locations: Orange, CA, USA
Official Website of the Company: https://seedevice.com
Name of the Featured Leader: Dr. Hoon Kim
Designation of the Leader: Founder and CEO