Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Taiwan Distributors Report High CIS Demand

Digitimes: Taiwan-based Coasia Microelectronics and Sunnic Technology & Merchandise, report 17.7% and 18% YoY sales growth, according to industry sources. Coasia distributes CMOS sensors mainly for Samsung, while Sunnic sells Sony's CMOS sensors.

The growth in demand in 2017 has been attributed to a growing number of new smartphones including entry-level and mid-range models that will feature a dual-lens setup, said Digitimes sources.

Indeed, even $65 phones such as DooGee Shoot 2 feature dual 5MP rear camera these days:

EETimes on ST SPAD Imager in iPhone 8

EETimes quotes Yole's analyst Pierre Cambou findings that ST SPAD imager might appear in the oncoming Apple iPhone 8. Few quotes:

"Yole’s educated guess is that ST is bringing a brand new 3D (array) imager to Apple iPhone 8 — an innovation that will alter the phone’s user interface.

Here’s a fact: As many as 10 Apple engineers have been working on imaging in Grenoble over the last few years. Their presence is open knowledge among locals, according to Cambou. The local newspaper reported last summer that Apple signed a lease with the city of Grenoble to open a research and development center there. The 800-square-meter facility will reportedly focus on imaging components and employ about thirty engineers.

Cambou suspects that ST could be using Silicon on insulator (SOI)-based wafers for the new SPAD 3D imagers. He said, “This is the way people have been doing BSI in the Grésivaudan valley (in Crolles…) for a long time.

Rockchip Compares its ISP with Apple

Embedded Vision publishes Rockchip article comparing its AP image processing engine with one from Apple:

"The RK1608 utilizes the CEVA-XM4 DSP core to perform frame-based processing, rather than line-based as in ISP. Because it is specifically designed for image processing, it can perform much faster than a standard AP. It includes features like multi frame de-noise, zig-zag HDR for preview and capture, HDR processing of multi-exposed image, depth map generation, super resolution and pseudo optical zoom. The vision coprocessor’s function is not dependent on the ISP, so it can be adapted to any platform.

One phone already available on the market that uses the RK1608 for enhanced photography, is the ASUS ZenFone 3 Zoom smartphone, launched earlier this year at CES 2017. If there was ever a phone that truly threatened DSLRs, this is it. This device was designed to be a camera just as much as it was designed to be a phone. The aperture, pixel size and sensor are among the largest in the industry at f/1.7, 1.4µm and 1/2.55”, respectively. It uses new SuperPixel camera technology for clearer images at night or in low-light environments and offers 2.5-times greater light sensitivity than the Apple iPhone 7 Plus.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

e2v Whitepaper on CCD QE in the Soft X-Ray Range

e2v publishes a nice paper explaining CCD properties in soft X-Ray band. Few quotes:

"On average, 3.6 eV is required for each free signal electron emitted from the silicon atom after absorption of an X-ray photon [20], with variance as per the Fano factor. The complete absorption of a 500 eV X-ray photon produces on average approximately (500 / 3.6) = 139 signal electrons, but a large number of steps are involved in this absorption."

AND not OR: CCD & CMOS Technologies for Industrial Markets

ON Semi publishes Michael DeLuca talk at Vision Show held in Stuttgart, Germany, in Nov. 2016:

EETimes Visits Chronocam

EETimes publishes an article on its visit of Chronocam. Few quotes:

"Chronocam’s sensor technology is designed to acquire data that’s simplified and tailored for machines to use. This dramatically reduced data load should allow cars to make almost real-time decisions.

Even the slightest hint of a market revolution is exciting to any inventor of a new technology. This isn’t a thrill, however, that stirs the incumbents who supply conventional image sensors.

With that resistance in place, it it’s tough to convincing others to consider a path they’ve never taken before. Talking them into embracing it, joining the revolution and building “an eco-system” is not a job for the fainthearted. Chronocam’s CEO Verre, however, is undeterred.

He cited three key advantages Chronocam’s event-driven sensor can provide. “We generate much less data, we enable faster reaction time, and we operate at a much wider dynamic range,” he explained.

Chronocam’s market positioning, however, has shifted significantly in one respect. Chronocam now believes, in entering the ADAS/autonomous car market, it doesn’t need to chart a collision course with an entire community of incumbent CMOS image sensor suppliers. Different from what we heard from the startup a year ago, Chronocam today is pitching its technology as one of the several different sensors to be added to ADAS/autonomous cars for safety.

EMCCD Generations

Raptor Photonics publishes a whitepaper explaining EMCCD generations differences. For some reason, ON Semi's EMCCD is not in the table, although the whitepaper is relatively new, dated by 2016/11:

Monday, March 20, 2017

World's Fastest Camera Presentation

SPIETV publishes a video of Lihong Wang, Caltech, presenting what he calls the world's fastest camera for ultrafast phenomena exploration:

2017 Image Sensors Europe Awards

Image Sensors Europe Conference announces its 2017 Awards in 5 categories:
  • Biggest Breakthrough Development
    Winner: Johannes Solhusvik, General Manager, Omnivision
  • Biggest Innovator in the Image Sensor Industry
    Winner: Shoji Kawahito, Imaging Devices Laboratory, Research Institute of Electronics, Shizuoka University
  • Best Academic Research Team
    Winner: Nobukazu Teranishi, Professor, Shizouka University/University of Hyogo
  • Image Sensor CEO/Managing Director of the Year
    Winner: Xinyang Wang, Founder & CEO, GPixel
  • Best Up-and-Coming Company
    Winner: Chronocam (Jean-Luc Jaffard, collected the award on behalf of Chronocam)

Xinyang Wang was absent at the Award ceremony

Eric Fossum Founds Gigajot Startup

Eric Fossum updates his LinkedIn page, saying that he has founded Gigajot Technology LLC devoted to "R&D for commercialization of the Quanta Image Sensor."

GoodCall site also reports that "In June, after [Jiaju] Ma completes his Ph.D., he will also make the move from inventor to entrepreneur. Ma will launch a startup, Gigajot, with Fossum to commercialize the QIS... Ma came to Dartmouth in 2012, and since then, he’s worked with Fossum on the Quanta Image Sensor (QIS), which can greatly enhance low-light sensitivity."

Thanks to AJ for the pointer!

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Analog Devices Unveils Smart Logarithmic Camera

Analog Devices quietly unveils the ADIS1700x, "an embedded vision sensing module engineered for a full range of emerging real-time, smart city and smart building applications, such as parking, traffic monitoring, and municipal light control. The ADIS1700x brings both advanced imaging and intelligence to the edge. The log imager enables clear, accurate imaging in both extreme brightness and darkness. It also generates output contrast at the pixel level, greatly reducing processing load. This allows for on-board algorithms that can deliver at-the-node analytics, so it’s possible to accurately and reliably distinguish between different objects, such as people and vehicles."

ADIS17001 preliminary product page presents a block diagram and the list of features of the new smart camera:
  • Imager: ADVIS200x (QVGA ultrahigh DR logarithmic sensor)
    130dB DR
    Edge detection and homography analytics algorithm for tracking and counting object motion
  • 400MHz ADSP-BF707WCCPZ-4 Blackfin digital signal processing
    Low power of 110mW
    512Mb LPDDR SRAM for advanced algorithms
  • Image Stabilization
    Dual axial digital gyroscope, up to ± 100°/s dynamic range
    Tri-axial digital accelerometer, up to ±16 g dynamic range
  • Autonomous operation and data collection
    Configurable boot-loader installed within flash memory
  • Lens: ADIS17001 provides a 110° horizontal FOV lens, while the ADIS17002 provides a 67° FOV
  • Form factor 45 mm × 45 mm
  • Factory calibrated optical focus and alignment
  • Conformal coated for environmental mitigation

Apparently, the new camera is a result of acquisition of Swiss startup Snap Sensor a year ago.

Saturday, March 18, 2017

ADAS Camera Market Report

Chinese CITIC Securities' report on ADAS market has an interesting data on automotive cameras:

"As the penetration rate of ADAS rises, the camera market will likely grow rapidly. According to IHS Automotive, the annual global shipment of vehicle camera system will likely reach 74mn units in 2021E (vs. c.15mn units in 2014). China’s camera lens producers are leading in the global market. According to, China’s vehicle camera industry logged output of c.8.62mn, 60% of which are exported. Under a conservative scenario, assuming an ADAS system uses four cameras (actually 1-10 cameras can be used in an ADAS system), China’s annual shipment of vehicle camera will likely reach 100mn units by 2020E, implying a market size of over Rmb12bn and CAGR of over 70%."

"Camera module: China’s camera lens producers are leading in the global market. Optical lens are widely used in cell phone, vehicle cameras, and cameras. As the growth of cell phone and other digital products decelerates, camera lens producers are increasingly focusing on vehicle cameras. China’s camera lens producers are leading in the global market. For example, Sunny Optical Technology boasts the largest global shipment of vehicle rear-view cameras, with a market share of c. 30% and in cooperation with major auto manufacturers such as BMW, Benz, and Audi. In our view, the vehicle camera business will likely boost earnings of leading domestic camera lens producers.

Shenzhen O-Film Tech is a traditional leading producer of camera modules, with a presence in the supply chain of intelligent vehicles. O-Film Tech not only has the highest shipment of camera modules, but also has a presence in dual-camera modules ahead of its competitors.

Sunny Optical has the largest global shipment in the vehicle camera lens market, with a market share of c.30%. In the market of front cameras for ADAS, which have a higher requirement for safety, Sunny Optical has a market share of over 50%.

LIPS is About to Announce its 3D Camera Products

LIPS apparently is moving closer to release its 3D camera products to the market. The company's Youtube video shows the application possibilities:

Friday, March 17, 2017

ams Acquires Princeton Optronics to Control its 3D Imaging Supply Chain

PressePortal: ams is to acquire Princeton Optronics, one of the leading providers of Vertical Cavity Surface-Emitting Lasers (VCSELs), in an all-cash transaction. The use of VCSELs is expected to gain momentum in 3D camera solutions for the Human Machine Interface (HMI). Broader adoption of 3D sensing in mobile and automotive applications could accelerate VCSEL market growth in the coming years.

Princeton Optronics operates an outsourced high volume supply chain with partners in Taiwan, the U.S., and the UK. Headquartered in Princeton, NJ (USA) with a total of 37 employees, Princeton Optronics has an annual revenue run-rate of around $10M and is profitable. The transaction includes an upfront consideration of $53.3M in cash and a substantial cash earn-out consideration related to realized 2017 and 2018 revenues, with a potential maximum earn-out value of $75M.

Alexander Everke, CEO of ams, commented on the transaction, "Adding the illumination source expands ams' optical sensor solutions offering, with the light path optics covered by Heptagon and the light sensor including filters by ams. Leveraging this portfolio ams can now design and manufacture the most complete and differentiated optical solutions for future growth areas like mobile 3D sensing and imaging or automotive autonomous driving. Princeton Optronics is a strategic partner to ams/Heptagon for optical sensing products already so we see a range of potential future synergies from this exciting combination."

Thanks to YG for the link!

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Why Suzuki Does Not Use Stereo Camera for New Braking System

Nikkei: While Suzuki has been promoting the use of stereo cameras in 2015-2016, the company switched over to a monocular camera with an IR laser in its automatic braking system in the new Wagon R and Swift cars. The reason is said to be a high cost. The stereo camera based system cost was about $670. While it was 3 times cheaper that IR LiDAR system, it's still too expensive for a compact car. The Wagon R system is manufactured by Continental and costs about $525. The lower price was the reason for the design switch.

Suzuki Wagon R camera

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

3D Depth Sensing Tutorials

Hotchips Symposium publishes tutorials and other video from its August 2016 sessions. One of the videos talks about 3D sensors and applications (pdf files are linked below):

Intro: 3D Sensors for the Rest of Us
Larry Yang, Google

VR and AR Anytime and Everywhere: Contributions of PMD Depth Sensing to an Evolving Ecosystem
Bernd Buxbaum, PMD Tech

“Speaking in Volumes”: Volumetric Data Acceleration for Dense SLAM
David Moloney, Movidius

Inuitive Breakthrough Solution for AR and VR Worlds
Dor Zepeniuk, Inuitive

3D Reconstruction for Consumer Mobile Devices
Ivan Dryanovsk, Google

Mobile 3D Capture for Professional Applications
Rafael Spring, DotProduct

Omnivision Corporate Video

Omnivision publishes the company introduction video:

Update: Omnivision keeps changing this video, all the time changing its location. The above link is to the third version already.

SMIC Licenses Ziptronix Bonding Technology

BusinessWire: SMIC has executed a technology transfer and license agreement for Invensas’ Direct Bond Interconnect (DBI) technology. SMIC intends to offer this bonding technology to its image sensor manufacturing customers. Invensas is a wholly owned subsidiary of Xperi Corporation (former Tessera).

As one of the leading foundries, SMIC delivers advanced semiconductor manufacturing processes to device makers around the world, and we are pleased to integrate DBI technology into our capabilities,” said Tzu-Yin Chiu, CEO and Executive Director of SMIC. “This technology is a key enabler for the fabrication of 3D stacked image sensors, and by working closely with Invensas, we will accelerate the development and commercialization of a new generation of imaging products for our customers.

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

BlueFin: ST Crolles Fab Resumes Operation, No Schedule Concequences

SeekingAlpha: BlueFin analysts say that ST Crolles fab has returned to full operation after the minor fire incident. The delivery schedule for SPAD AF chips is not expected to deviate from the original one.

WHEC Scanner Technology

Chinese WHEC posts a video explaining the technology behind its money scanner:

Another video presents the company history starting from 1995.

Monday, March 13, 2017

Fraunhofer Presents Thin Camera Concept

CIO, PCWorld: Germany-based Fraunhofer Institute presents a 3.5mm-thin smartphone camera module that removes the need for a camera bump.

"It uses four image sensors rotated 90 degrees so they point out of the side of the phone. A set of tiny mirrors in front of the sensors reflects the image from the front or rear of the phone.

The basic concept would have worked with a single mirror, said Jacques Duparré, a senior scientist at Fraunhofer's Microoptical Imaging Systems lab in Jena, Germany.

But it faltered at close range, so a second mirror was added and the two images stitched together. But then stitching errors could be seen in the images, so engineers added a second set of sensors and mirrors so the phone could calculate and eliminate the errors.

The mirrors simply flip around so images can be taken to the front and rear of the phone.

Analog Devices Demos Spectrometer and Occupancy Detector

Analog Devices publishes a video demo of compact spectrometer developed in partnership with Consumer Physics:

Another video demos the fruit of ADI recent acquisition of Swiss startup Snap Sensor. This is actually a version of the previously published video with a different presenter.

Automotive Acquisitions: Intel Buys Mobileye, Valeo Buys Gestigon

Reuters, Haaretz, Jerusalem Post: Intel is to buy Mobileye for $14 billion to $15 billion, at a significant premium over the NASDAQ market value of $10.5 billion. The two companies are expected to officially announce the deal in coming hours.

Valeo has acquired gestigon, a German start‑up developing 3D image processing software for the vehicle cabin. Ths acquisition provides a solution to develop simple, intuitive and effective human-machine interfaces (HMI) for cabin comfort and driving assistance operations, particularly in high-growth technologies such as interior cameras and image processing.

We are delighted to welcome gestigon to the Valeo community,” said Marc Vrecko, head of Valeo’s Comfort and Driving Assistance Systems Business Group. “A leader in human-machine interface solutions, this start-up enjoys recognized expertise in the automotive industry. By combining our skills in a larger team, we will sharpen our edge and reinforce our leadership in autonomous and connected cars.

Update: Mobileye acquisition is official now: Reuters, Bloomberg.

Saturday, March 11, 2017

BlueFin: Minor Fire at ST Crolles Fab Stops SPAD ToF Chips Production

SeekingAlpha quotes BlueFin Research analyst John Donovan saying a small basement fire in a cleanroom at ST fab in Crolles, France, halted SPAD chips production for Apple and other companies:

"This fab is the sole manufacturing facility for STM’s 3D sensors. This incident has currently shutdown the facility and our research indicates it could take several weeks to requalify the fab and resume production. Our understanding is that several AAPL employees are on site in Crolles presently. These 3D sensors have a long production cycle time and relatively low yield rates, which will make it difficult for STM to get back on their production schedule target with each day that the fab is incapacitated."

Friday, March 10, 2017

ON Semi Analyst Day

ON Semi conducts a financial analyst day today. Here are few slides from the image sensor group presented by the company SVP Taner Ozcelik:

On AR/VR market, ON Semi GS sensors are used in Facebook Oculus products, two sensors in each headset. DJI uses ON Semi image sensors in its drones.

A market forecast shows that, starting 2018-2019, ADAS cameras are to become the largest slice of the automotive imaging market:

Here is the interesting data on automotive image sensor market shares, with Toshiba separated from Sony for some reason:

Sony is said to be not so successful in capturing the automotive image sensors market. Mobileye and Nvidia use ON Semi image sensors in their products:

This slide explains the latest ON Semi move on radar and image sensor data fusion:

By dual sourcing, I'd guess TSMC and LFoundry/SMIC are meant:

Image Sensor R&D in Europe

Imaging & Machine Vision Europe interviews Gareth Powell, marketing manager for the high performance imaging division at e2v on image sensor development in Europe. Few quotes:

"Dense clusters of imaging players exist in various regions throughout Europe. Grenoble, France is one example where advanced technologies covering everything from x-rays to terahertz imaging are developed. Consumer imaging giants like STMicroelectronics, with its state-of-the-art, high-volume CMOS imaging fab, are also in the region.

Other players focused on more specialist and industrial imaging applications like e2v, Ulis/Sofradir, Trixell/Thales TED, and innovation centres like CEA-Leti, also form what has become known as ‘the Imaging Valley’. This breeds a rich ecosystem for start-ups like Isorg, which are innovating in the field of organic image sensors. Similar ecosystems exist in Belgium with ex-Fill Factory spin-offs like Cypress Imaging (now On Semiconductor) Cmosis, and Caeleste, among others, with research centres like Imec developing advanced process technology for hyperspectral imaging, for example. The German Fraunhofer institute innovates in 2D and 3D imaging for diverse applications.

One of the major factors driving image sensor development in Europe comes from funded programmes for applied imaging, enabling collaborators to bring concepts to market.

...A challenging request from camera and vision system customers serving the industrial markets is to reduce product price points. This is largely thanks to the emergence of new and aggressively priced competitors in a still fairly fragmented market.

Thursday, March 09, 2017

Sony Multiple Sampling Sensor

Japanese Journal of Applied Physics publishes an open-access Sony paper "Noise reduction effect and analysis through serial multiple sampling in a CMOS image sensor with floating diffusion boost-driving" by Hayato Wakabayashi, Keiji Yamaguchi, and Yuuki Yamagata. Part of the material has been already published in other papers in the recent years.

"We have developed a 1/2.3-in. 10.3 mega pixel back-illuminated CMOS image sensor utilizing serial multiple sampling. This sensor achieves an RMS random noise of 1.3e- and row temporal noise (RTN) of 0.19e-. Serial multiple sampling is realized with a column inline averaging technique without the need for additional processing circuitry. Pixel readout is accomplished utilizing a 4-shared-pixel floating diffusion (FD) boost-driving architecture. RTN caused by column parallel readout was analyzed considering the transfer function at the system level and the developed model was verified by measurement data taken at each sampling time. This model demonstrates the RTN improvement of 1.6 dB in a parallel multiple readout architecture."

Brookman High Frame Rate Demo

Brookman presents high speed videos from its BT130A CMOS sensor:

Vision Chips at Ishikawa Watanabe Lab

History of vision chips designed in Ishikawa Watanabe Laboratory of the University of Tokyo is summarized in a short Youtube video:

Wednesday, March 08, 2017

Analysts on AR Cameras in Apple Products

Digit publishes a review of different analysts quotes on AR in Apple products:

"UBS' top Apple analyst Steven Milunovich believes that the next-gen iPhone will offer facial recognition...

Andrew Gardiner of Barclays believes that the 3d Camera will come to Apple's anniversary iPhone, which is also being referred to as iPhone 8 or iPhone X. He believes that chipmakers like AMS, STMicroelectronics and Lumentum will be the suppliers for implementing the new technology.

Morgan Stanley, meanwhile, believes Apple will use PrimeSense's technology to enable 3D sensing on iPhones. The report says 3D sensing will be enabled using a light source, and controlling optics, an image sensor and a firmware chip.

Tuesday, March 07, 2017

Nintendo Switch Joy-Con Has Omnivision IR Sensor Inside

TechInsights publishes a reverse engineering report on the new Nintendo Switch game console. Its Joy-Con controllers feature "the motion IR camera. This camera is an infrared CMOS image sensor that is used to detect object shape and distance and, according to Ars Technica and Nintendo, will be able to record full video in the future. This camera sensor appears likely to be manufactured by OmniVision, and has a die size of 3.90 mm x 3.73 mm and a pixel pitch of 5 µm."

ON Semiconductor Establishes Sensor Fusion Design Center in Bracknell, UK

BusinessWire: ON Semiconductor establishes a new sensor fusion design center in Europe. This team has combined experience of more than 1,200 years in silicon design for digital and analog technologies. The center is expected to extend ON Semi market leadership in image sensors for automotive ADAS and viewing applications with new capabilities in imaging and video signal processing for automated driving systems. By combining this design center with its recently acquired mmWave radar technology and design center in Israel, ON Semiconductor is to provide sensor fusion solutions for next generation highly autonomous vehicles.

The automotive image sensor market is growing rapidly driven through higher attach rates for ADAS and viewing systems and new applications for image sensors, such as driver monitoring, e-mirror and 360-degree sensing,” said Ross Jatou, VP and GM of Automotive Solutions Division of the Image Sensor Group. “Expanding our design capacity positions us to extend our leadership in established segments and to deliver new, world-class solutions for emerging segments.

The new United Kingdom design center for ON Semiconductor reports directly into the Automotive Solutions Division (ASD) within the Image Sensor Group. The new design center is located in Bracknell, England, and expands a global sensor design footprint that now includes major locations in the US, UK, Japan, India and Israel.

Monday, March 06, 2017

Google Tango Uses 3 Cameras

SystemPlus Consulting publishes reverse engineering report of Lenovo Phab2Pro 3D ToF Camera, Google Tango ready.

"The Phab2Pro implements this technology using a tri-camera sensor. The subsystem features a 16 megapixel resolution CMOS image sensor (CIS) from Samsung, a VGA resolution CIS with global shutter technology from Omnivision, and a 38 kilopixel resolution 3D Image Sensor from the collaboration between Infineon and pmd integrated into a subsystem with a NIR vertical-cavity surface-emitting laser (VCSEL).

To provide the 3D scene, the tri-camera’s high-resolution camera supplies the texture and the global shutter camera supplies the motion-tracking. Finally, the ToF sensor supplies the depth perception at a high rate thanks to the VCSEL emitter, which gives the phone the ability to understand space and motion quickly, like a human.

Mobile Spectrometer Reverse Engineering Report

SystemPlus Consulting publishes a reverse engineering report of SCiO Molecular Sensor from Consumer Physics:

"Consumer Physics is the first to bring spectrometry to consumers. Unlike other spectrometers, Consumer Physics produces a very simple package based on a tiny spectrometer head, with an area of 13 mm x 19 mm.

The SCiO Spectrometer integrates a 1.2 M pixel monochromatic CMOS image sensor from ON Semiconductor, a white LED from OSRAM... The received light in the spectrometer module is filtered and broken up into different wavelengths by the various lenses...

To provide spectral analysis, SCiO’s distinguishing feature eliminates the optical network usual in spectrometers, replacing it with a bespoke Fabry-Perot filter. All data processing is done by a chipset developed and produced by Analog Devices on a high-density printed circuit board.

ON Semi Improves CCD Readout, Adds Radars to its Imaging Portfolio

BusinessWire: ON Semi is enhancing patient safety in digital radiography with release of a new CCD image sensor that enables video imaging under reduced x-ray dosage conditions. The KAF-09001 image sensor provides the same critical imaging performance as the KAF-09000 used today for digital radiography image capture, but incorporates an improved output architecture that supports a high sensitivity video mode, facilitating patient positioning while minimizing overall x-ray exposure.

With a resolution of 9MP, the KAF-09001 shares the same 12µm pixels as the existing KAF-09000. The quad-output design incorporated into the new device supports readout speeds up to 20 MHz, providing a 10x increase in full resolution frame rate and up to 10 fps video preview when the device is operated with 3 x 3 binning.

BusinessWire: ON Semi is acquiring and licensing mmWave technology for automotive radar applications developed by IBM’s Haifa research team. The acquisition creates a new Israel design center for ON Semiconductor that reports directly into the automotive solutions division within the Image Sensor Group. The new design center is located in Haifa, Israel. It includes staff, equipment, research facilities and intellectual property.

The team and its technologies accelerates ON Semiconductor’s strategy to grow our automotive sensing business even faster than the robust growth from increasing camera attach rates,” said Taner Ozcelik, SVP and GM Image Sensor Group. “We look forward to delivering a wider range of sensing products and technology to meet our customers’ needs for next-generation ADAS and fully autonomous driving solutions.

Sunday, March 05, 2017

OmniVision “Deep Well” HDR Technology

Image Sensor Europe 2017 to be held in London on March 15-16, publishes an interview with Johannes Solhusvik, GM of Omnivision Norway. Few quotes on the HDR approaches and more:

"All of OmniVision’s HDR pixel technologies enable image capture in both bright and dark areas at the same time to produce image and video with balanced lighting. Deep Well HDR is the most advanced of these technologies.

“Deep Well” refers to full-well capacity. Our sensors have a full-well capacity of 50,000 electrons, which translates to 2-3 times larger than what is typical for 2.8µm pixels. Additionally, the pixels are read out with both high gain (for dark objects) and low gain (for bright objects) simultaneously, thus achieving HDR with one single exposure.

"In 5 years, we expect most sensors will be stacked sensors using backside illumination, which gives better image quality thanks to CMOS process nodes that are more optimized for its purpose. This applies to all markets, not just consumer cameras.

Further, our second-generation BSI technology is based on 65nm node semiconductor 300mm wafers to create the industry’s first 1.1-micron pixel image sensor, and provides low-light sensitivity and advancements in dark current and full-well capacity.

Stack technology is a two (or more) wafer solution that leads to smaller die size and higher-level integration opportunities with advanced camera features.

Saturday, March 04, 2017

Friday, March 03, 2017

Primesensor Automotive Lineup

Primesensor, a JV of Pixart, Mediatek and UMC, publishes a presentation on its automotive image sensor program:

Pixart Company Presentation

Pixart Q2 2016 presentation gives a lot of rarely publishes info about the company:

Apparently, the company is actively hiring, as its Q4 2016 presentation reports 480 employees vs 350 ones in Q2:

Toshiba Visconti Use Cases

Toshiba publishes a couple of videos suggesting applications for its Visconti vision processors:

Thursday, March 02, 2017

Theoretical Frame Rate Limit of Si Image Sensor

Open source Sensors journal publishes a paper "The Theoretical Highest Frame Rate of Silicon Image Sensors" by Takeharu Goji Etoh, Anh Quang Nguyen, Yoshinari Kamakura, Kazuhiro Shimonomura, Thi Yen Le, and Nobuya Mori from Osaka and Ritsumeikan Universities, Japan.

"The frame rate of the digital high-speed video camera was 2000 frames per second (fps) in 1989, and has been exponentially increasing. A simulation study showed that a silicon image sensor made with a 130 nm process technology can achieve about 10^10 fps. The frame rate seems to approach the upper bound. Rayleigh proposed an expression on the theoretical spatial resolution limit when the resolution of lenses approached the limit. In this paper, the temporal resolution limit of silicon image sensors was theoretically analyzed. It is revealed that the limit is mainly governed by mixing of charges with different travel times caused by the distribution of penetration depth of light. The derived expression of the limit is extremely simple, yet accurate. For example, the limit for green light of 550 nm incident to silicon image sensors at 300 K is 11.1 picoseconds. Therefore, the theoretical highest frame rate is 90.1 Gfps (about 10^11 fps)."

After the simplifications of equations mostly based on the photocarriers travel time to the collection node, "the expression of the temporal resolution limit is reduced to an extremely simple form:"

Δτ = 6.12 δ

where δ is the average light penetration depth
∆τ is the temporal resolution limit
The units of ∆τ and δ are, respectively, ps and µm.

The paper's conclusion:

"The temporal resolution limit of silicon image sensors is theoretically derived. The limit is mainly governed by mixing of charges with different travel times caused by the distribution of penetration depth of light. The final expression is ∆τ = 6.12 δ, which may be unbelievably simple, but sufficiently accurate. Now, the target is clear. It is time to give it a try to break it."

Camtek Reports Multiple Orders From a World-Leading CMOS Sensor Manufacturer

PRNewswire: Camtek announces that one of the world's leading CMOS Sensor manufacturers placed multiple orders for inspection and metrology systems. The orders include Camtek's new 2D inspection system, EagleT-i. The equipment will be installed during the first half of this year.

Ramy Langer, VP and Head of Camtek's Semiconductor Division, commented, "We are proud to have received these orders from this key and prestigious industry player. Our strong position in the CMOS Image Sensor market segment makes our systems the tool of choice for CMOS Image Sensor inspection. These orders include our newest Eagle model, EagleT-i, one of the fastest and most accurate 2D inspection tools on the market."