Tuesday, March 02, 2021

Senseeker Engineering Acquires SE-IR Corporation

ROIC company Senseeker Engineering acquired SE-IR Corporation, a cryogenic test equipment and electronics developer. The combination of Senseeker's digital ROIC and SE-IR's industry standard test Dewars and electronics is a highly complementary amalgam that will enable FPA makers to expedite their development and evaluation process.

The terms of the acquisition are undisclosed. Both Senseeker and SE-IR were privately held companies prior to the acquisition and Senseeker remains a 100% privately held company after this transaction. SE-IR's business and products are being integrated as seamlessly as possible into the Senseeker organization. The SEIR brand name shall be retained for Senseeker's product line of electronics and cryogenic equipment and modified as Senseeker Engineering Infrared.

"Senseeker builds solutions that help our customers create higher performance sensors and get them into production faster," said Kenton Veeder, President at Senseeker Engineering. "Our continued commitment not to sell infrared FPAs is aligned with SE-IR, who has been a strong ecosystem partner to Senseeker and the infrared community for many years. Together we accelerate our customers' capabilities through expanded stand-alone and combined solutions incorporating integrated circuits, Dewars, electronics and software. We will heighten our customers technology and bring their solutions to market faster."

Monday, March 01, 2021

ON Semi Launches World’s First Automotive Qualified SiPM Array for LiDAR Applications

i-Micronews, EEJournal: ON Semi announces the new RDM-Series silicon photomultiplier (SiPM) array for LiDARs. The RDM-0112A20-QFN is said to be the first automotive qualified SiPM product in the market. The ArrayRDM-0112A20-QFN is AEC-Q102 qualified and developed in accordance with IATF 16949.

The ArrayRDM-0112A20-QFN is a 1×12 array of SiPM pixels based on the company’s RDM process, which enables 18.5% photon detection efficiency (PDE) at 905 nm. This PDE is measured at typical operating voltage and 21°C. The PDE increases to >25% at 905 nm at elevated temperature. 

The high-resolution depth data provided by LiDAR enables instantaneous and accurate object identification in challenging low light conditions. As the first automotive qualified SiPM, the ArrayRDM-0112A20-QFN will enable long range, cost-effective LiDAR solutions for the next level of safety and autonomy,” commented Wade Appelman, senior director, Automotive Sensing Division at ON Semiconductor. “We are continuously enhancing our sensor portfolio by offering diverse and complementary sensing modalities that pave the way to higher levels of ADAS and autonomous driving.

Technavio Forecasts CIS Market to Grow by $10.80B during 2021-2025

PRNewsWire: According to Technavio, the CMOS image sensors market is expected to grow by $10.80B during 2021-2025, expanding at a CAGR of almost 10%.

Hyperspectral Imaging Applications

Stemmer Imaging publishes European Imaging Academy webinar on hyperspectral imaging use cases:

Sunday, February 28, 2021

Image Sensors on NASA Perseverance Rover

IMVEurope publishes "The sensor stories behind the Mars Perseverance images" based on talks with Guy Meynants, CMOSIS co-founder, and Paul Jerram of Teledyne e2v.

"Belgian firm Cmosis built its CMV20000 sensor originally as a custom product for traffic monitoring, releasing it in the summer of 2012, around the time when Perseverance's predecessor, Curiosity, was touching down on Mars.

Early in 2013 an internal study looked at ways of modernising the engineering cameras that had flown on Curiosity, as the design of those cameras was at that time more than 20 years old.

One of the upgrades was to use the CMV20000 20-megapixel sensor in the engineering cameras, the navigation and hazard detection eyes of the rover. Guy Meynants, one of the founders of Cmosis and now working for image sensor firm Photolitics, told Imaging and Machine Vision Europe that JPL initially requested information about the sensors much like any other customer, but at that time the team at Cmosis didn't know what it would be used for.

Then, later on, 'we started to get very specific questions, which came to me,' Meynants recalled. 'There was some urgency, and I was CTO at Cmosis at the time. It was then that we started to realise it might be used for something like this [the Mars rover].'

The cameras on Perseverance have three main improvements over those that flew on Curiosity, say the JPL scientists in the Space Science Reviews paper. Firstly, the Cmosis CMV20000 sensors are colour chips, which gives better contextual imaging capabilities than the monochrome predecessors. The second improvement is that the cameras have a wider field of view – 90° x 70° as opposed to 45° x 45° – which means only five overlapping images are needed to create a 360° panoramic view (Curiosity needed 10 images to achieve the same effect). The third improvement is that the 20-megapixel sensors can resolve greater detail than the older model.

In terms of the analytical instruments onboard the rover, a combination of CMOS and CCD detectors are used. Cmosis has a sensor – CV4000, a 2k x 2k device – in the Supercam, which will examine the chemical composition of rocks and soil. Meynants said that the route to include CV4000 in Supercam was a more classical space science project, with a full qualification of the microlenses and scientific work on whether the sensor was suited to the task.

Supercam also contains a CCD from Teledyne e2v, part of Teledyne Imaging, as does the Sherloc instrument – Scanning Habitable Environments with Raman and Luminescence for Organics and Chemicals – which will look for minerals, organic molecules and potential biosignatures. Teledyne Imaging companies also produced key optical components for the Sherloc UV spectrometer, including many of the lenses and mirrors.

Both the Teledyne CCDs on Supercam and Sherloc are 2k wide by 512 pixels high. Here, sensitivity is key, in the visible spectrum but also out into the UV and infrared, according to Paul Jerram, chief engineer at Teledyne e2v.

Jerram told Imaging and Machine Vision Europe that this particular CCD has a heritage stretching back to the early 1990s. It was originally made for the Royal Greenwich Observatory as a large area detector. After that, what was then e2v made variants of the detector for spectroscopy.

A version of the sensor was used onboard Curiosity, so the work for Perseverance had to some extent already been proven. 'We provide a detector that's really efficient,' Jerram said, almost 100 per cent detection efficiency. The signal returning to the detector from pulses of laser light is not huge, and instruments like Supercam and Sherloc need a sensor with very low noise that captures all of the signal."

Saturday, February 27, 2021

WaveTouch Sues Goodix and Huawei over Under-Screen Optical Fingerprint Patent Infringement

GizomoChina reports that UK-headquartered WaveTouch has filed claims against Goodix and Huawei over infringement on its optical fingerprint patents. WaveTouch Group Ltd. is a Joint Venture between OPDI Technologies A/S, Denmark and O-Net Communications Limited, Hong Kong. The Wavetouch technology is developed by OPDI Technologies A/S in partnership with the Technical University of Denmark (DTU), Denmark and Presto Engineering, Denmark.

Jørgen Korsgaard Jensen, founder of WaveTouch says that he has “always been very much in favor of establishing [a] close and good cross border relationship between Europe and China as I think the mix of different backgrounds and cultures can create innovative solutions and ideas. Today, the majority of employees in WaveTouch are employed in our Shenzhen based subsidiary and in this light it saddens me even more to see this kind of behavior disrespecting intellectual property rights.

WaveTounch news release says "We are incredibly pleased to announce, that Wavetouch’s main patent application, regarding our ultra-thin in-display fingerprint sensor technology, has now been granted in Europe. This technology has been designed for all high-end smartphones, due to the high-resolution and high contrast image of the actual fingerprint.

We expect similar grants, in the rest of the world, within a foreseeable future."

GizChina: The lawsuit is filed in a court in Dusseldorf, Germany. It's not clear which patent is in the dispute but WaveTouch has a number of patent applications on fingerprint sensor under OLED display, such as US20200285345:

Friday, February 26, 2021

ISSCC 2021: Samsung iToF Sensor

Samsung presents "A 4-tap 3.5μm 1.2Mpixel Indirect Time-of-Flight CMOS Image Sensor with Peak Current Mitigation and Multi-User Interference Cancellation" by Min-Sun Keel, Daeyun Kim, Yeomyung Kim, Myunghan Bae, Myoungoh Ki, Bumsik Chung, Sooho Son, Hoyong Lee, Heeyoung Jo, Seung-Chul Shin, Sunjoo Hong, Jaeil An, Yonghun Kwon, Sungyoung Seo, Sunghyuck Cho, Youngchan Kim, Young-Gu Jin, Youngsun Oh, Yitae Kim, JungChak Ahn, Kyoungmin Koh, Yongin Park.

Image Sensor Packaging Video

AIM Micro Systems publishes a promotional video showing different technologies and equipment involved in image sensor packaging:

Thursday, February 25, 2021

Velodyne Founder Responds to Board Decision

BusinessWire: David Hall, who with Marta Thoma Hall holds voting control of approximately 58.4% of the outstanding common stock of Velodyne Lidar, Inc. issued the following statement in response to the Company’s February 22, 2021 announcement:

As Board members and large stockholders, Marta and I have acted ethically and tirelessly to advance the best interests of Velodyne Lidar. We presided over years of growth and success that ultimately laid the groundwork for Velodyne Lidar to go public via a reverse merger in 2020. Since Anand Gopalan assumed the Chief Executive Officer role early last year, I have stepped back from day-to-day management and offered strategic perspectives when appropriate. I ultimately relinquished my Executive Chairman position in favor of simply serving as Chairman once it became clear this winter that Mr. Gopalan and others preferred to continuously ignore my input in favor of implementing their own agenda.

Marta and I firmly believe that the boardroom ambush that took place on February 19, 2021 is an affront to stockholders that undermines corporate democracy. The Board’s rash decision to censure us based on an opaque, secret investigation into baseless, unfounded claims simply reveals that the Company’s governance is broken. Moreover, stripping us of our respective positions – without justification – after many years of success appears more like an internal power grab than a pro-stockholder action. We are committed to righting these wrongs in the weeks ahead and plan to communicate substantive updates in the near-term.

SiOnyx vs Hamamatsu Oral Argument

US Federal Circuit Court publishes the oral arguments between Hamamatsu and SiOnyx lawyers, a nice example of how these lawsuits are managed. One can listen and decide which side sounds more convincing:

TechInsights Webinar on CIS Trends Learned from Reverse Engineering

TechInsights holds a free webinar "Selected Imager and Sensor Trends and Comparisons" on March 3, 2021. 

"The intent of this webinar is to share selected content from our 2020 Image Sensor Device Essentials (DEF) subscription annual presentation. Topics chosen for this webinar include: smartphone front and rear-facing camera trends, stacked image signal processor (ISP) highlights, deep trench isolation (DTI) overview, high-κ dielectrics, color filter and metal grids, phase detection autofocus (PDAF), time-of-flight (ToF), global shutter, and event-driven sensors."