Michael Francis Tompsett

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Michael Francis Tompsett is a British born physicist and former researcher at English Electric Valve Company,[1] who later moved to Bell Labs in America. Tompsett designed and built the first ever video camera with a solid-state (CCD) sensor.[2][3]

Tompsett is known particularly for his work on infrared imagers and CCD imagers. He pioneered compact, low power, high performance and low cost solid-state infrared imagers, CCD imagers and digital cameras and made contributions in several fields with patents and publications over an extended period of time. He claims to be the inventor of the CCD imager, used in devices such as digital cameras.[4]

Technical accomplishments[edit]

Tompsett made technological contributions in several different specialty areas including materials science, night vision, charge-coupled devices and integrated circuit design over a lifetime of work. He is responsible for significant invention, development and leadership of several socially beneficial enabling technologies in use today. These include the in-situ monitoring of deposited epitaxial films, un-cooled night-vision thermal imaging camera tubes, un-cooled solid-state thermal imagers, CCD imagers and CCD cameras, MOS mixed analog-digital integrated systems, and integrated video analog-digital converters.

Awards and honors[edit]

  • Tompsett was elected Fellow of the Institution of Electrical and Electronic Engineers, IEEE, in 1987.
  • Tompsett received the 2010 Pioneer Lifetime Award from the New Jersey Inventors Hall of Fame.
  • Tompsett received the National Medal of Technology and Innovation, the highest honor bestowed by the United States government on US engineers and inventors in 2011.
  • Tompsett received the IEEE Edison Medal in 2012.


  • The 1972 patent [5]