The OPF sensor employs a thin, light-sensitive film on top of CMOS silicon circuitry. Panasonic says that the separation of the light conversion medium and electronic charge storage removes some design trade-offs that need to be made with conventional CMOS designs. The design allows for a larger active pixel area that makes it 1.2x more sensitive to light than normal photodiodes.
Decoupling the photoconversion and storage areas also allows for the ability to store more total charge (higher full well capacity), resulting in 10x, or 3 EV, greater dynamic range.
Additionally, the OPF layer is only 0.5 microns thick, or four to six times thinner than silicon photodiodes that are typically 2-3 microns in depth. According to Panasonic this expands the incident angle of light that can be collected to 60 degrees, compared to 30-40 degrees for conventional silicon sensors, which should allow greater flexibility in lens design. It should also help reduce false color and vignetting.
In addition to better sensitivity and dynamic range, the technology provides global shutter by allowing all pixels to be exposed essentially at the same time by turning on and off the entire photosensitive area at once.