Until recently, a solid-state image sensor with full television resolution was a dream. However, the dream of a solid state image sensor has been a driving force in the development of silicon technology for more than twenty-five years. There are probably many in the main stream of semiconductor technology who would argue with this; however, the solid state image sensor was conceived years before the invention of the semi conductor RAM or the microprocessor (i.e., even before the invention of the integrated circuit). No other potential application envisioned at that time required such complexity. How could anyone have ever hoped in 1960 to make a semi conductor chip containing half-a-million picture elements, capable of resolving eight to twelve bits of infornation, and each capable of readout rates in the tens of mega-pixels per second? As early as 1960 arrays of p-n junctions were being investigated as the optical targets in vidicon tubes, replacing the photoconductive targets. It took silicon technology several years to catch up with these dreamers.
Gene P. Weckler, Gene P. Weckler,
"The Solid State Image Sensor's Contribution To The Development Of Silicon Technology", Proc. SPIE 0570, Solid-State Imaging Arrays, (11 December 1985); doi: 10.1117/12.950295; https://doi.org/10.1117/12.950295