Friday, December 30, 2005
Thursday, December 29, 2005
In a related note MagnaChip sells its 8-bit and 32-bit microcontroller, SmartCard controller, microperipheral IC and linear IC product lines to GreenChips. Youm Huh, president and CEO of MagnaChip, said: "After this deal, we plan to focus further on our three core businesses -- display solutions, imaging solutions and our semiconductor manufacturing services,” (EETimes).
Wednesday, December 28, 2005
Thursday, December 22, 2005
Pixelplus released a list of their customers here:
BYD Co., Ltd.,
China TechFaith Wireless Communication Technology Ltd., or China TechFaith,
DART Express Incorporated,
Ningbo Bird Co., Ltd.,
Pantech Co., Ltd.,
ROHM Co., Ltd.,
Seiko Precision Inc.,
Quite an impressive list. Sharp is by far the major PXPL's customer:
"In 2004, we shipped approximately 10.8 million CMOS image sensors worldwide, of which 7.7 million CMOS image sensors were sold through DongbuAnam Semiconductor Inc., or DongbuAnam, to Sharp under our services arrangements with DongbuAnam, and during the first nine months of 2005, we shipped approximately 14.8 million CMOS image sensors and camera modules worldwide, of which 5.6 million CMOS image sensors were sold through DongbuAnam to Sharp."
Wednesday, December 21, 2005
Tuesday, December 20, 2005
A few quotes:
"That's one reason why Micron has concentrated on delivering very high quality image sensors that can readily operate in the great variety of situations where the amateur's going to want to capture an image without having to think about it. This is particularly acute in low-light environments, and we do have a saying that if your cameraphone still works under a table, then it's a Micron image sensor! We put a lot of effort into ensuring that things like colour sensitivity and accuracy get taken for granted by the end user, without them having to negotiate complex image processing software to get a decent, fit-for-purpose picture or video."
"From almost a standing start three years ago, 20 per cent of our revenues now come from imaging and supporting specialist memory – a proportion certain to increase in coming years as users move from transmitting just their voices and thoughts to include images of the world around them."
Monday, December 19, 2005
Sunday, December 18, 2005
Tuesday, December 13, 2005
Saturday, December 10, 2005
Friday, December 09, 2005
Here are some:
Image Sensor Lab by WireWorks West - Quite a good PC add-on, but lacks few important tests, such as photon transfer curve, readout noise, color cross-talk, color noise.
Pulse Instruments offers a set of instruments, but it looks like more effort is needed to make it work, write all the standard test sets, etc.
Wednesday, December 07, 2005
Quite a few interesting image sensors papers are presented on Session 33:
"33.1 A High-Performance and Low-Noise CMOS Image Sensor with an Expanding Photodiode Under the Isolation Oxide, K. Itonaga, H. Abe, I. Yoshihara, T. Hirayama, Sony Corporation, Kanagawa, Japan
We realized 2.5-um pitch pixel with high Qs and sensitivity without shard-transistor pixel for the first time. We propose a novel isolation structure for CIS, which realizes the low dark current as well as triple Qs value of the conventional STI, by expanding the buried photodiode under the isolation oxide."
Probably Qs should be QE - Quantum Efficiency.
"33.2 The Features and Characteristics of 1/3 5M CMOS Image Sensor with 1.9x1.9_m2 Pixels, C.-R. Moon, J. Jung, D. Kwon, S.-H. Lee, J.-S. Roh, K.-H. Paik, D.-C. Park, H. Kim, H. Jeong, J.-H. Sim, H. Noh, K. Lee, D. Lee, K. Kim, Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd., Gyeonggi-Do, Korea
CMOS image sensor (CIS) with 1.9um-pitch pixels using a tailed 130nm logic process has been implemented, and its design and some key process features are introduced. It is shown that several sophisticated processes improve the sensitivity and noise-related characteristics such as random temporal noise and dark current. With this technology, full 5-mega density CIS chips were successfully fabricated."
First 1.7um pixel announcement from Micron in May, now 1.9um pixels from Samsung - the race to zero size pixel is at full speed. What about the image quality then?
"33.3 The Hole Role (Invited), A. Theuwissen, J. Bosiers, E. Roks, DALSA, Eindhoven, Netherlands
The presence of holes in today's imaging products can not be overestimated ! The success of CCDs and CMOS imagers was really boosted once the positive effect of holes was discovered. The most important example of a device that uses holes to improve the quality of the images obtained, is pinned-photo diode. The paper will review various imaging structures that rely on the presence of holes."
This one looks like yet another great lecture from ex-Philips team.
Tuesday, December 06, 2005
Does this mean that TSMC is having capacity problems in 0.18um image sensor process? Or TSMC is under price pressure to do this?
Thursday, December 01, 2005
Thus Agilent does not produce image sensors anymore. Avago takes on from now on.
The image sensor companies list at the beginning of this blog was updated to reflect this change.
"According to Agilent product line manager Sanjeev Chandrashekher, the story began in a series of research experiments. Agilent researchers had observed that in 1Mpixel sensors small enough to be embedded in a handset camera module, the individual pixels were so small that the optical aperture above each pixel was approaching an untenable threshold. Designers throw up their hands when the aperture gets below about 25m.
The research team created a series of pixel architectures based on a trapezoidal well shape in which they moved the metal lines around to measure the effect of the interconnect metal lines obscuring the edges of the aperture. To their surprise, they found that when the metal lines covered up a certain portion of the edges of the well, the charge generation in the well increased. Further work determined that the metal lines manipulated the electric field in the optical path, i.e. they behaved as a tertiary lens, gathering in light that would have fallen outside the well and focusing it toward the phototransistor. The researchers learned that the effect could be optimized to improve the sensitivity of the CMOS sensor pixel.
That unexpected result was combined with engineering projects that were exploring new geometries for the dopant well and the array layout. Those resulted in lower dark current, lower temporal noise and the ability to flush the charge more quickly from the well, thus reducing the image lag effects that harm image quality during high-repetition-rate image capture, such as in video applications."
I eager to see how this new Agilent sensor performs in the real world.
Wednesday, November 30, 2005
It has 13um pixels and intended for scientific and industrial applications.
Its electron multiplication technology works very well in low light, much worse in good light and requires cooling for low noise. All good things have some restrictions, unfortunately.
Monday, November 28, 2005
The most interesting one is Samsung half-inch 7.2MP sensor. The pixel size 2.25um with 57% fill factor (geometrical? effective?) due to 4-pixel shared architecture. The full well is 14Ke while noise level is 8e - a very nice result for such a small pixel. They use 0.13um Cu process.
Sony presents 6.4MP sensor with their masterpiece 2.5um zig-zag pixels. The fill factor is 38% - quite good assuming they use 0.18um 1P3M process. Readout noise is 7e.
Another Sony presentation is 2MP sensor with ~4um pixel. It looks like the bigger pixel buys them much lower readout noise - just 5.2e. Another achievement is 0.5e FPN - by far the best in the industry.
Another interesting paper came from Cypress - probably by ex-SmalCamera guys. They use a feedback noise reduction idea to bring the 3T pixel readout noise down to 13e. This looks similar to what Altasens is doing. However, Altasens noise is lower - just 8e. But both numbers are quite good to an old-fashion 3T pixel.
As a side note, the session chair Boyd Fowler is CTO and VP of Technology of Fairchild Imaging. He used to be with Agilent for some time. It's interesting to see him re-united with Pixel Devices assets that Fairchild Imaging aquired almost two years ago.
The new company "performs custom CMOS sensor design for niche applications and the design of its own high speed Megapixel products".
The list of image sensor companies at the beginning of this blog was updated accordingly.
Monday, November 21, 2005
"NanoLens™ was created by a team of experts at Johnson Electric’s Value Innovation Center in Shenzhen, China. Development team members included micro component tool designers from Johnson Electric’s Nihon Mini Motor Inc, in Japan, leading piezo motion systems designers from Johnson Electric’s Nanomotion Ltd., in Israel and production experts from Johnson Electric in China.
The team members all converged in the Value Innovation Center where components were prototyped overnight for engineering testing. Prototype systems were fabricated in Shenzhen, and sent to Israel for engineering qualification tests, while molds and tools were crafted in Japan and dispatched to China for production use. The end product leapfrogs competition from Japan, USA and Europe."
NanoLens is demonstated in Transchip booth at 3G World Congress, suggesting that Transchip is the first customer (NanoLens flyer).
Sunday, November 20, 2005
Siimpel used to be an optical communication company, formerly known as SiWave. It looks like it is reinventing itself to become a mobile imaging player.
I eager to see how it applies its MEMS knowledge to address what it calls "the increased performance and functionality expectations of imaging systems in phone handsets, laptops, PDA’s and micro-cameras".
Saturday, November 19, 2005
So far the electronic still image stabilizer has been used only by Sony in $5000 Qualia. It is also 2MP camera and also four frames are added.
While Sony and NEC might have developed it in-house, the stabilizer implementation looks very similar to one by Morpho, Inc.
Let's see if digital camera and camera-phone makers can move it into the mainstream.
Friday, November 18, 2005
Ball Aerospace and Technologies
Emerging Memory & Logic Solution, Inc. (EMLSI)
EM Microelectronic - Marin SA
IMS Vision (JV of Omron and IMS)
Kedah Wafer Emas - KWE (UniqueICs subsidiary)
New Imaging Technologies
Optrima, Optrima-Softkinetic JV
Semiconductor Technology Associates
Silicon Optronics (JV of Omnivision and Powerchip)
Teledyne Imaging Sensors
Vision Integration Technology - ViTi
In total: 93 companies
Updated on Nov 28, 2005: Alexima and Awaiba are added.
Updated on Dec 1, 2005: added Silicon Optronics (Taiwan), Galaxycore (China), Beijing Superpix Micro Technology. Agilent changed to Avago.
Updated on Dec 8, 2005, SensL Technologies (Cork, Irland) added.
Updated on Dec 31, 2005, Fujifilm added.
Update Jan. 30, 2006: SuperPix (China) added.
Update Feb. 20, 2006: Forza Silicon added (CIS design services).
Update Apr. 1, 2006: ADVIS (Rochester, NY) added.
Update May 14, 2006: Shimadzu (Japan) added.
Update May 18, 2006: Anafocus (Spain) added.
Update June 6, 2006: Candela Microsystems (Singapore) added.
Update July 9, 2006: Rohm added.
Update Aug 7, 2006: Atmel sold its image sensor business to e2v, thus removed.
Update Nov 7, 2006: Truesight seems to be defunct for some time, thus deleted. TrueImaging added.
Update Jan 9, 2007: Bejung Superpix Micro Tech removed as Superpix duplicate. Banpil added.
Update Jan 10, 2007: Emerging Memory & Logic Solution, Inc. (EMLSI) added.
Update Mar. 1, 2007: Sensata Technologies added.
Update Apr. 12, 2007: CSEM and 3DV Systems added
Update July 14, 2007: CMOX has been shut down, deleted from the list
Update July 20, 2007: ADVIS apparently changed its name to Signal Sciences
Update July 27, 2007: Biomorphic ceased operation, deleted from the list
Update Aug. 25, 2007: California-based CCD maker Semiconductor Technology Associates and Bart Dierickx's startup Caeleste added
Update Aug. 27, 2007: Taiwan-based e-Phocus and Hi-Max Imaging added
Update Sept. 13, 2007: SiGe sensor maker NoblePeak Vision from Boston area added
Update Oct. 16, 2007: C.I. Sensor is defunct now. Its web site is dead. The rumor is that some time ago it has changed its name to SITI, or something like that, and was acquired by Dongbu soon after that.
Update Oct. 17,2007: Taiwan-based Vision Integration Technology (ViTi), a manufacturer of security and surveillance sensors, was added
Transchip was acquired by Samsung, thus deleted from the list
Update July 17, 2008: CMOSIS added
Rosnes added - a mysterous Japanese startup promising CCD-quality CMOS sensors. NTT Finance invested in it.
Newport Imaging added, even though it's struggling for survival now. Founded by Ian Olsen of YMedia fame.
Update Sep 14, 2008: Rockwell Scientific was acquired by Teledyne in Sep. 2006. In Feb. 2008 Teledyne acquired Teledyne acquired IR sensor vendor Judson Technology. They were merged into Teledyne Imaging Sensors.
Update Sep 17, 2008: Designer of custom CMOS sensors Lumiense Photonics added.
Intevac Imaging, a night vision CMOS sensors and systems manufacturer, added.
Update Oct. 31, 2008: Magnachip closed its CIS business, is deleted from the list.
SiOnyx, the Black Silicon startup is added.
BYD is added.
Trueimaging seems to be defunct, deleted.
Update Nov. 7, 2008: ZMD is out of image sensor business, deleted.
Update Nov. 8, 2008: Mesa Imaging added.
Update Dec 24, 2008: ESS removed, a long overdue
Clairpixel, Korea, the spin-off of Mtekvision, added
Update Dec 27, 2008: Foveon switched to Sigma as a result of the acquisition
Update Feb. 22, 2009: Rui-Xin-Brigates added.
Update Oct. 1, 2009: Micron is changed to Aptina
Update Oct. 6, 2009: New Imaging Technologies - a French startup comapany added.
Update Nov. 3, 2009: 3DV Ssytems removed, as it was acquired by Microsoft in mid-2009
Brookman Technology added - a Japan-based custom sensor design company
Update Nov 17, 2009: Ball Aerospace and Technologies Corp. (Boulder, CO) added.
Update Nov 18, 2009: Brainvision added - a Japan-based company developing TOF imager for Stanley Electric. Operates since 1998, 8 employees.
Update Dec 6, 2009: Optrima added - a Belgian 3D ToF startup, founded in April 2009, based on Vrejie University of Brussels technology. Formed JV with Softkinetic - another Belgium-based startup developing software for gesture recognition.
Update Dec 30, 2009: ImagerLabs added - an LA-area, California-based low noise CCD supplier. Founded in 2001.
ENG added - Fukuoka, Japan based HDR sensor vendor and custom design house.
Update June 23, 2010: Harvest Imaging and Tangent Technologies added.
Update June 27, 2010: AMI-Peripheral Imaging seems to exit image sensor business. At least their new mother company ON Semi does not have image sensors in its current product list.
However, there is no single web site devoted to consumer grade image sensor technology, news and market trends. Image Sensor World blog is supposed to fill this deficiency.
Here you can find news and comments about image sensors and related things.