Friday, July 19, 2024

Videos du jour - Sony, onsemi

Sony UV and SWIR sensors demo:



Webinar by ON Semi on image sensor selection:



ON Semi Hyperlux image sensor demo:



Thursday, July 18, 2024

Senseeker Expands Low-Noise Neon Digital Readout IC Family for SWIR Applications

The 10 µm, 1280 x 1024 Neon® RD0131 DROIC is available now for commercial use.


Santa Barbara, California (July 16 th , 2024) — Senseeker Corp, a leading innovator of digital infrared image sensing technology, has announced the availability of the Neon® RD0131, an advanced digital readout integrated circuit (DROIC) that expands the Neon product family with the addition of a high definition 1280 x 1024 format.

“The new larger format size of the Neon RD0131 is a welcome addition to the Neon DROIC family,” said Dr. Martin H. Ettenberg, President and CEO at Princeton Infrared Technologies. “Senseeker’s approach to offering families of compatible products allows reuse of test equipment, electronics and software, greatly simplifying the development of new high-performance SWIR cameras and imagers that we provide for the Industrial, Scientific and Defense markets.”

The Neon RD0131, with 1280 x 1024 format and 10 µm pitch has triple-gain modes with programmable well capacities of 22 ke-, 160 ke- and 1.1 Me-. The DROIC supports a read noise of 15 electrons at room temperature in high-gain.

“The Neon RD0131 CTIA DROIC is the second chip in our Neon product family that has proven to be a hit with customers that are developing solutions for low-light applications such as short-wave infrared (SWIR) and low-current technologies such as quantum dot-based detectors,” said Kenton Veeder, President of Senseeker. “We have included the popular features and operating modes that Senseeker isknown for, including on-chip temperature monitoring and programmable multiple high-speed windows to observe and track targets at thousands of frames per second.”

The Neon RD0131 is available in full or quarter wafers now and is supported by Senseeker’s CoaxSTACK™ electronics kit, CamIRa® imaging software and sensor test units (STUs) that, together, enable testing and evaluation of Neon-based focal plane arrays quickly and efficiently.

The Neon® RD0131-L10x is a low-noise, triple-gain digital readout integrated circuit (DROIC) that has a 10 µm pitch pixel with a capacitive transimpedance amplifier (CTIA) front-end circuit. This DROIC was developed for low-light applications such as short wave Infrared (SWIR) and low-current detector technologies such as quantum dot-based detectors. It has been designed for use in high operating temperature (HOT) conditions.

  • 10 μm , P-on-N polarity, CTIA input
  • Global snapshot, Integrate-while-read (IWR) operation
  • Three selectable gains with well capacity of 22 ke- (high-
  • gain), 160 ke- (medium-gain) and 1.1 Me- (low-gain)
  • Correlated Doubling Sampling (CDS) on and off chip
  • Advanced zero-signal noise floors of 15 e– rms (high-gain
  • using CDS, room temperature)
  • Synchronous or asynchronous integration control
  • High-speed windowing with multiple windows
  • Serialized to 16 bits per pixel (15 data, 1 valid flag bit)
  • SPI control interface (SenSPI®) and optional frame clock

 Neon RD0131 dies on wafer

 
Image of a bruised apple that uses the Neon ROIC with a short wave infrared (SWIR) detector.


 

Monday, July 15, 2024

International Image Sensor Workshop 2025 First Call for Papers


FIRST CALL FOR PAPERS
ABSTRACTS DUE DEC 19, 2024
2025 International Image Sensor Workshop Awaji Yumebutai Int. Conf. Center, Hyōgo, Japan
(June 2 - 5, 2025)

The 2025 International Image Sensor Workshop (IISW) provides a biennial opportunity to present innovative work in the area of solid-state image sensors and share new results with the image sensor community. The event is intended for image sensor technologists; in order to encourage attendee interaction and a shared experience, attendance is limited, with strong acceptance preference given to workshop presenters. As is the tradition, the 2025 workshop will emphasize an open exchange of information among participants in an informal, secluded setting beside the Awaji Island in Hyōgo, Japan.

The scope of the workshop includes all aspects of electronic image sensor design and development. In addition to regular oral and poster papers, the workshop will include invited talks and announcement of International Image Sensors Society (IISS) Award winners.

Papers on the following topics are solicited:

Image Sensor Design and Performance
CMOS imagers, CCD imagers, SPAD sensors
New and disruptive architectures
Global shutter image sensors
Low noise readout circuitry, ADC designs
Single photon sensitivity sensors
High frame rate image sensors
High dynamic range sensors
Low voltage and low power imagers
High image quality; Low noise; High sensitivity
Improved color reproduction
Non-standard color patterns with special digital processing
Imaging system-on-a-chip, on-chip image processing
Event-based image sensors

Pixels and Image Sensor Device Physics
New devices and pixel structures
Advanced materials
Ultra miniaturized pixels development, testing, and characterization
New device physics and phenomena
Electron multiplication pixels and imagers
Techniques for increasing QE, well capacity, reducing crosstalk, and improving angular response
Frontside illuminated, backside illuminated, and stacked pixels and pixel arrays
Pixel simulation: optical and electrical simulation, 2D and 3D, CAD for design and simulation, improved models

Application Specific Imagers
Image sensors and pixels for range sensing: LIDAR, TOF, RGBZ, structured light, stereo imaging, etc.
Image sensors with enhanced spectral sensitivity (NIR, UV, IR)
Sensors for DSC, DSLR, mobile, digital video cameras and mirror-less cameras
Array imagers and sensors for multi-aperture imaging, computational imaging, and machine learning
Sensors for medical applications, microbiology, genome sequencing
High energy photon and particle sensors (X-ray, radiation)
Line arrays, TDI, very large format imagers
Multi and hyperspectral imagers
Polarization sensitive imagers

Image Sensor Manufacturing and Testing
New manufacturing techniques
Wafer-on-wafer and chip-on-wafer stacking technologies
Backside thinning
New characterization methods
Packaging and testing: reliability, yield, cost
Defects, noises, and leakage currents
Radiation damage and radiation hard imagers

On-chip Optics and Color Filters
Advanced optical path, color filters, microlens, light guides
Nanotechnologies for Imaging
Wafer level cameras

Submission of abstracts:

An abstract should consist of a single page of maximum 500-words text with up to two pages of illustrations (3 pages maximum), and include authors’ name(s), affiliation, mailing address, telephone number, and e-mail address.

The deadline for abstract submission is 11:59pm, Thursday Dec 19, 2024 (GMT).
To submit an abstract, please go to: https://cmt3.research.microsoft.com/IISW2025
Above website should be open by Aug 1, 2024.

The first time you visit the paper submission site, you'll need to click on "Create Account". Once you create and verify your account with your email address, you will be able to submit abstracts by logging in and clicking “Create New Submission”.

Please visit https://imagesensors.org/CFP2025 for complete instructions and any updates to the abstract and paper submission procedures.

Abstracts will be considered on the basis of originality and quality. High quality papers on work in progress are also welcome. Abstracts will be reviewed confidentially by the Technical Program Committee.

Key Dates:
Authors will be notified of the acceptance of their abstract latest by Feb 10, 2025.
Final-form 4-page paper submission date is Mar 22, 2025.
Presentation material submission date is May 1, 2025.

Location:
The IISW 2025 will be held at the International Conference Center on Awaji Island in Hyōgo Prefecture, Japan. This beautiful hotel is about 1 hour from Kansai International Airport. Limousine Buses chartered by IISW will pick up attendees at JR Shin-Kobe Station and JR Sannomiya Station.

Registration, Workshop fee, and Hotel Reservation:
Registration details and hotel reservation information will be provided in the Final Announcement of the Workshop.

Forthcoming announcements and additional information will be posted on the 2025 Workshop page of the International Image Sensor Society website at: https://www.imagesensors.org/



Thursday, July 11, 2024

Last chance to buy Sony CCD sensors

We shared back in 2015 news of Sony discontinuing their CCD sensors.

The "last time buy" period for these sensors is nearing the end.

Framos: https://www.framos.com/en/news/framos-announces-last-time-buy-deadline-for-sony-ccd-sensors

Taking into consideration current market demand and customer feedback, Sony has decided to revise the “Last Time Buy PO submission” deadline to the End of September 2024. Final shipments to FRAMOS remain unchanged at the end of March 2026. With these changes, FRAMOS invites all customers to submit their final Last Time Buy Purchase Orders to them no later than September 24th, 2024, to ensure timely processing and submission to Sony by the new Last Time Buy deadline date.
Important dates:
 Deadline for Last Time Buy Purchase Orders received by FRAMOS: September 24th, 2024
 Final delivery of accepted Last Time Buy Purchase Orders from FRAMOS: March 31st, 2026 

SVS-Vistek: https://www.svs-vistek.com/en/news/svs-news-article.php?p=svs-vistek-offers-last-time-buy-options-or-replacement-products-for-ccd-cameras

For customers who wish to continue using CCD-based designs, SVS-Vistek has initiated a Last-Time-Buy (LTB) period, effective immediately, followed by a subsequent Last-Time-Delivery (LTD) period. This allows our customers to continue to produce and sell their CCD-based products, ensuring reliable delivery. Orders can be placed until August 31, 2024 (Last-Time-Buy). SVS-Vistek will then offer delivery of LTB cameras until August 31, 2026 (Last-Time-Delivery). We advise our customers individually and try to find the best solution together. 

Wednesday, July 10, 2024

Forbes blog on Obsidian thermal imagers

Link: https://www.forbes.com/sites/davidhambling/2024/05/22/new-us-technology-makes-more--powerful-thermal-imagers-at-lower-cost/

[some excerpts below]

New U.S. Technology Makes More Powerful Thermal Imagers At Lower Cost 

Thermal imaging has been a critical technology in the war in Ukraine, spotting warm targets like vehicles and soldiers in the darkest nights. Military-grade thermal imagers used on big Baba Yaga night bombers are far too expensive for drone makers assembling $400 FPV kamikaze drones who have to rely on lower-cost devices. But a new technology developed by U.S company Obsidian Sensors Inc could transform the thermal imaging market with affordable high-resolution sensors.

...

Older digital cameras were based on CCDs (charge coupled devices), the current generation use more affordable CMOS imaging sensors which produce an electrical charge in response to light. The vast majority of thermal imagers use a different technology: an array of microbolometers, miniature devices whose pixels absorb infrared energy and measure the resulting change in resistance. The conventional design neatly integrates the microbolometers and the circuits which read them on the same silicon chip.

...

John Hong, CEO of Obsidian Sensors based in San Diego believes he has a better approach, which can scale up to high resolution at low cost and, crucially, high volume, at established foundries. The new design does not integrate everything in one unit but separates the bolometer array from the readout circuits. This is more complex but allows a different manufacturing technique to be used.

The readout circuits are still on silicon, but the sensor array is produced on a sheet of glass, leveraging technology perfected for flat-screen TVs and mobile phone displays. Large sheets of glass are far cheaper to process than small wafers of silicon and bolometers made on glass cost about a hundred times less than on silicon.

Hong says the process can easily produce multi-megapixel arrays. Obsidian are already producing test batches of VGA sensors, and plan to move to 1280x1024 this year and 1920x1080 in 2025.
Obsidian has been quietly developing their technology for six years and are now able to produce units for evaluation at a price three to four times lower than comparable models. Further evolution of the manufacturing process will bring prices even lower.

That could bring a 640x480 VGA sensor imager down to well below $200.

...

Hong says they plan to sell a thousand VGA cameras this year on a pilot production run, and are currently raising a series B to hit much larger volumes in 2025 and beyond. That should be just about right to surf the wave of demand in the next few years.

 

The thermal image from Obsidian's sensor (left) shows pedestrians who are invisible in the glare in a digital camera image (right) [Obsidian Sensors]


Friday, July 05, 2024

Videos du jour : under display cameras, SPADs

 


Designing Phase Masks for Under-Display Cameras

Diffractive blur and low light levels are two fundamental challenges in producing high-quality photographs in under-display cameras (UDCs). In this paper, we incorporate phase masks on display panels to tackle both challenges. Our design inserts two phase masks, specifically two microlens arrays, in front of and behind a display panel. The first phase mask concentrates light on the locations where the display is transparent so that more light passes through the display, and the second phase mask reverts the effect of the first phase mask. We further optimize the folding height of each microlens to improve the quality of PSFs and suppress chromatic aberration. We evaluate our design using a physically-accurate simulator based on Fourier optics. The proposed design is able to double the light throughput while improving the invertibility of the PSFs. Lastly, we discuss the effect of our design on the display quality and show that implementation with polarization-dependent phase masks can leave the display quality uncompromised.

 

 


Passive Ultra-Wideband Single-Photon Imaging

We consider the problem of imaging a dynamic scene over an extreme range of timescales simultaneously—seconds to picoseconds—and doing so passively, without much light, and without any timing signals from the light source(s) emitting it. Because existing flux estimation techniques for single-photon cameras break down in this regime, we develop a flux probing theory that draws insights from stochastic calculus to enable reconstruction of a pixel’s time-varying flux from a stream of monotonically-increasing photon detection timestamps. We use this theory to (1) show that passive free-running SPAD cameras have an attainable frequency bandwidth that spans the entire DC-to-31 GHz range in low-flux conditions, (2) derive a novel Fourier-domain flux reconstruction algorithm that scans this range for frequencies with statistically-significant support in the timestamp data, and (3) ensure the algorithm’s noise model remains valid even for very low photon counts or non-negligible dead times. We show the potential of this asynchronous imaging regime by experimentally demonstrating several never-seen-before abilities: (1) imaging a scene illuminated simultaneously by sources operating at vastly different speeds without synchronization (bulbs, projectors, multiple pulsed lasers), (2) passive non-line-of-sight video acquisition, and (3) recording ultra-wideband video, which can be played back later at 30 Hz to show everyday motions—but can also be played a billion times slower to show the propagation of light itself.


 
SoDaCam: Software-defined Cameras via Single-Photon Imaging

Reinterpretable cameras are defined by their post-processing capabilities that exceed traditional imaging. We present "SoDaCam" that provides reinterpretable cameras at the granularity of photons, from photon-cubes acquired by single-photon devices. Photon-cubes represent the spatio-temporal detections of photons as a sequence of binary frames, at frame-rates as high as 100 kHz. We show that simple transformations of the photon-cube, or photon-cube projections, provide the functionality of numerous imaging systems including: exposure bracketing, flutter shutter cameras, video compressive systems, event cameras, and even cameras that move during exposure. Our photon-cube projections offer the flexibility of being software-defined constructs that are only limited by what is computable, and shot-noise. We exploit this flexibility to provide new capabilities for the emulated cameras. As an added benefit, our projections provide camera-dependent compression of photon-cubes, which we demonstrate using an implementation of our projections on a novel compute architecture that is designed for single-photon imaging.

Thursday, July 04, 2024

PetaPixel article on Samsung's 200MP sensor

Full article here: https://petapixel.com/2024/06/27/samsung-announces-worlds-first-200mp-sensor-for-telephoto-cameras/


Samsung Unveils World’s First 200MP Sensor for Smartphone Telephoto Cameras

 


Samsung has announced three new image sensors for main and sub cameras in upcoming smartphones. Among the trio of new chips, Samsung unveiled the world’s first 200-megapixel telephoto camera sensor for mobile devices.

The ISOCELL HP9, the industry’s first 200MP telephoto sensor for smartphones, features a Type 1/1.4 format and 0.56μm pixel size. Samsung explains that the sensor has a proprietary high-refractive microlens that uses a novel material and significantly improves the sensor’s light-gathering capabilities. This works by more precisely directing light to the corresponding RGB color filter. Samsung claims this results in 12% better light sensitivity (based on signal-to-noise ratio 10) and 10% improved autofocus contrast performance compared to Samsung’s prior telephoto sensor. 

“Notably, the HP9 excels in low-light conditions, addressing a common challenge for traditional telephoto cameras. Its Tetra²pixel technology merges 16 pixels (4×4) into a large, 12MP 2.24μm-sized sensor, enabling sharper portrait shots — even in dark settings — and creating dramatic out-of-focus bokeh effects,” the Korean tech giant explains.

When used alongside a new remosaic algorithm, Samsung says its new HP9 sensor offers 2x or 4x in-sensor zoom modes, achieving up to 12x total zoom when paired with a 3x optical zoom telephoto module, “all while maintaining crisp image quality.”

Next is the ISOCELL GNJ, a dual-pixel 50-megapixel image sensor in Type 1/1.57 format. This sensor sports 1.0μm pixels, and each pixel includes a pair of photodiodes, enabling “fast and accurate autofocus, similar to the way human eyes focus.” The sensor also captures complete color information, which Samsung says helps with focusing and image quality.

The sensor utilizes an in-sensor zoom function, which promises good video quality. It also offers benefits for still photography, as Samsung says the in-sensor zoom function can reduce artifacts and moiré.

Thanks to an improved high-transmittance anti-reflective layer (ARL), plus Samsung’s high-refractive microlenses, the GNJ boasts better light transmission and promises consistent image quality. It also has an upgraded pixel isolation material to minimize the crosstalk between adjacent pixels, resulting in more detailed, accurate photos.

As Samsung notes, these improvements also result in a more power-efficient design. The sensor offers a 29% improvement in live view power efficiency and a 34% reduction in power use when shooting 4K/60p video.

Rounding out the three new sensors is the ISOCELL JN5, a 50-megapixel Type 1/2.76 sensor with 0.64μm pixels. Because of its slim optical format, the new JN5 sensor can be used across primary and sub-cameras, including ultra-wide, wide, telephoto, and front-facing camera units.

The sensor includes dual vertical transfer gate (Dual VTG) technology to increase charge transfer within pixels, which reduces noise in extremely low-light conditions. It also leverages Super Quad Phase Detection (Super QPD) to rapidly adjust focus when capturing moving subjects.

Yet another fancifully named feature is dual slope gain (DSG), which Samsung says enhances the JN5’s high-dynamic range (HDR) performance. This works by amplifying analog signals (photons) into two signals, converting them into digital data, and combining them. This sounds similar to dual ISO technology, which expands dynamic range by combining low-gain and high-gain data into a single file.

Wednesday, July 03, 2024

onsemi acquires SWIR Vision Systems

From Businesswire: https://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20240702703913/en/onsemi-Enhances-Intelligent-Sensing-Portfolio-with-Acquisition-of-SWIR-Vision-Systems

onsemi Enhances Intelligent Sensing Portfolio with Acquisition of SWIR Vision Systems

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--As part of onsemi’s continuous drive to provide the most robust, cutting-edge technologies for intelligent image sensing, the company announced today it has completed the acquisition of SWIR Vision Systems®. SWIR Vision Systems is a leading provider of CQD® (colloidal quantum-dot-based) short wavelength infrared (SWIR) technology – a technology that extends the detectable light spectrum to see through objects and capture images that were not previously possible. The integration of this patented technology within onsemi’s industry-leading CMOS sensors will significantly enhance the company’s intelligent sensing product portfolio and pave the way for further growth in key markets including industrial, automotive and defense.

CQD uses nanoparticles or crystals with unique optical and electronic properties that can be precisely tuned to absorb an extended wavelength of light. This technology extends the visibility and detection of systems beyond the range of standard CMOS sensors to SWIR wavelengths. To date, SWIR technology has been limited in adoption due to the high cost and manufacturing complexity of the traditional indium gallium arsenide (InGAas) process. With this acquisition, onsemi will combine its silicon-based CMOS sensors and manufacturing expertise with the CQD technology to deliver highly integrated SWIR sensors at lower cost and higher volume. The result are more compact, cost-effective imaging systems that offer extended spectrum and can be used in a wide array of commercial, industrial and defense applications.

These advanced SWIR sensors are able to see through dense materials, gases, fabrics and plastics, which is essential across many industries, particularly for industrial applications such as surveillance systems, silicon inspection, machine vision imaging and food inspection. In autonomous vehicle imaging, the higher spectra will create better visibility to see through difficult conditions such as extreme darkness, thick fog or winter glare.

SWIR Vision Systems is now a wholly owned subsidiary of onsemi, with its highly skilled team being integrated into the company’s Intelligent Sensing Group. The team will continue to operate in North Carolina. The acquisition is not expected to have any meaningful impact on onsemi’s near to midterm financial outlook.