Sensor Cleaning

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AlphaWorld

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Tony
The actual sensor is impurified silicon (OK, I made up the word impurified, but it amuses me that it's the impurities in the silicon that make the magic happen).

However, on top of that are multiple layers of glass, including the two layer AA filter if there is one, and a protective layer on top - when you "clean the sensor" you are touching that protective layer. If you did damage it, you could see the results in your images, just as you can see dust on the sensor, by using a very high aperture (f/22, for example) and shooting a uniform scene - a clear blue sky, for example (if you have a clear blue sky handy).

Two pieces of advice I have been given:
  1. use the blower first to get rid of particles - you do not want to drag sand across the glass, because it really can scratch the glass (sand can be harder than metal)
  2. do not use too much solution - excess can dribble down the edges of the sensor stack, and that could damage things - the worst thing to do is spray the solution into the camera
I have seen advertising for things like an ?Arctic Butterfly" brush - I have no idea if it works/is good/is a terrible idea. I'm wary because it's supposed to attract dust using a static charge.
 

Sorefined

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Ray Richardson
Yes you are correct the silicon is "doped" with arsenic, phosphorus or boron usually, at the atomic level
and it is these positive or negatively charged elements that form the electrical "gates" with silicon that make
up the semiconductor transistors and other electrical functions necessary to form the complete what used
to be called circuit boards... these days they are more usually referred to as semiconductor chips or wafers.

Being at the atomic level and involving minute positive and negative electrical charges this is what makes
the sensors susceptible to damage/malfunction by external static charges...
 
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