Happy New Year,
Somewhat related to the image sensors in our cameras is a new device called a RF Spectral Imager covered by patent 10161975.
The idea behind this partially came from the many fruitful discussions with folks here and other sites over the years about camera image sensors and sensor on-chip processing.
This patent was just granted on Christmas Day I was informed, so can discuss the details since it's "public knowledge" now.
The concept resembles our image sensors with multiple columns of pixels on a chip (see patent), except these "RF pixels" don't capture photons in a single "shot" like image sensors but capture Radio Frequency signals (images) in time sequence.
The actual capture is the signal presented to a reference MOS device and the method of capture doesn't involve a discrete capacitor (pixel) like the camera sensor, but instead involves the charge captured on the gate oxide of a MOS device. This is called the Floating Gate Sampler, and since no capacitor is required the Sampler can be very small and becomes an RF Pixel replicated many time on a single chip.
Many different opportunities arise when the input RF signal has been captured or being captured, one of which is pseudo real time spectrum analysis by means of an "Analog Fast Fourier Transform". Here the usual high speed (high power) Analog to Digital Converter isn't required and the signal is processed (real & imaginary multiplies & additions) with analog techniques rather than digitally. Many other algorithms, such a delayed time and time reversal are possible but not for general discussion on a public forum.
Anyway, thanks to the many discussions with folks here the idea was formulated many years ago.
Best & Happy New Year,
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