updated 06:35 pm EDT, Thu May 19, 2011
Inventor won Nobel Prize for work on imaging
Willard Sterling Boyle, a physicist credited with pioneering the CCD sensor for imaging devices such as digital cameras, recently died at a hospital near his home in Wallace, Nova Scotia, at the age of 86. Boyle worked with fellow Bell Laboratories scientist George E. Smith in the fall of 1969 to invent the charge-coupled device as a possible technology for computer memory.
The CCD served better purpose as an imaging sensor, paving the way for development of new devices such as camcorders, scanners, and new cameras. Boyle shared the 2009 Nobel Prize in Physics with George E. Smith for their work associated with the CCD.
"The CCD has provided new possibilities to visualize the previously unseen," the Nobel committee said at the time of the award. "It has given us crystal clear images of distant places in our universe as well as the depths of the oceans."
Aside from the CCD, Boyle also helped to invent other technologies such as the ruby laser and semiconductor injection laser, according to details posted in a LA Times obituary. He is named in 13 patents and also helped to select lunar landing sites during the Apollo missions.
Boyle is survived by his wife, a son, two daughters, 10 grandchildren, and a great-grandchild.