Tuesday, June 11, 2024

Himax invests in Obsidian thermal imagers

From GlobeNewswire: https://www.globenewswire.com/news-release/2024/05/29/2889639/8267/en/Himax-Announces-Strategic-Investment-in-Obsidian-Sensors-to-Revolutionize-Next-Gen-Thermal-Imagers.html

Himax Announces Strategic Investment in Obsidian Sensors to Revolutionize Next-Gen Thermal Imagers

TAINAN, Taiwan and SAN DIEGO, May 29, 2024 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Himax Technologies, Inc. (Nasdaq: HIMX) (“Himax” or “Company”), a leading supplier and fabless manufacturer of display drivers and other semiconductor products, today announced its strategic investment in Obsidian Sensors, Inc. ("Obsidian"), a San Diego-based thermal imaging sensor solution manufacturer. Himax's strategic investment in Obsidian Sensors, as the lead investor in Obsidian’s convertible note financing, was motivated by the potential of their proprietary and revolutionary high-resolution thermal sensors to dominate the market through low-cost, high-volume production capabilities. The investment amount was not disclosed. In addition to an ongoing engineering collaboration where Obsidian leverages Himax's IC design resources and know-how, the two companies also aim to combine the advantages of Himax’s WiseEye ultralow power AI processors with Obsidian’s high-resolution thermal imaging to create an advanced thermal vision solution. This would complement Himax's existing AI capabilities and ecosystem support, improving detection in challenging environments and boosting accuracy and reliability, thereby opening doors to a wide array of applications, including industrial, automotive safety and autonomy, and security systems. Obsidian’s proprietary thermal imaging camera solutions have already garnered attention in the industry, with notable existing investors including Qualcomm Ventures, Hyundai, Hyundai Mobis, SK Walden and Innolux.

Thermal imaging sensors offer unparalleled versatility, capable of detecting heat differences in total darkness, measuring temperature, and identifying distant objects. They are particularly well suited for a wide range of surveillance applications, especially in challenging and life-saving scenarios. Compared to prevailing thermal sensor solutions, which typically suffer from low resolution, high cost, and limited production volumes, Obsidian is revolutionizing the thermal imaging industry by producing high resolution thermal sensors with its proprietary Large Area MEMS Platform (“LAMP”), offering low-cost production at high volumes. With large glass substrates capable of producing sensors with superior resolution, VGA or higher, at volumes exceeding 100 million units per year, Obsidian is poised to drive the mass market adoption of this unrivaled technology across industries, including automotive, security, surveillance, drones, and more.

With accelerating interest in both the consumer and defense sectors, Obsidian’s groundbreaking thermal imaging sensor solutions are gaining traction in automotive applications and poised to play a pivotal role. The novel ADAS (Advanced Driver Assistance Systems) and AEB (Automatic Emergency Braking) system, integrated with Obsidian’s thermal sensors, significantly enable higher-resolution and clear vision in low-light and adverse weather conditions such as fog, smoke, rain, and snow, ensuring much better driving safety and security. This aligns perfectly with measures announced by the NHTSA (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration) on April 29, 2024, which issued its final rule mandating the implementation of AEB, including PAEB (Pedestrian AEB) that is effective at night, as a standard feature on all new cars beginning in 2029, recognizing pedestrian safety features as essential components rather than just luxury add-ons. This safety standard is expected to significantly reduce rear-end and pedestrian crashes. Traffic safety authorities in other countries are also following suit with similar regulations underscoring the trend and significant potential demand for thermal imaging sensors from Obsidian Sensors in the years to come.


A dangerous nighttime driving situation can be averted with a thermal camera

“We are pleased to begin our strategic partnership with Himax through this funding round and look forward to a fruitful collaboration to potentially merge our market leading thermal imaging sensor and camera technologies with Himax’s advanced ultralow power WiseEyeTM endpoint AI, leveraging each other's domain expertise. Furthermore, progress has been made in the engineering projects for mixed signal integrated circuits, leveraging Himax’s decades of experience in image processing. Given our disruptive cost and scale advantage, this partnership will enable us to better cater to the needs of the rapid-growing thermal imaging market,” said John Hong, CEO of Obsidian Sensors.

“We see great potential in Obsidian Sensors' revolutionary high-resolution thermal imaging sensor. Himax’s strategic investment in Obsidian further enhances our portfolio and expands our technology reach to cover thermal sensing which represents a great compliment to our WiseEye technology, a world leading ultralow power image sensing AI total solution. Further, we see tremendous potential of Obsidian’s technology in the automotive sector where Himax already holds a dominant position in display semiconductors. We also anticipate additional synergies through expansion of our partnership with our combined strength and respective expertise driving future success,” said Mr. Jordan Wu, President and Chief Executive Officer of Himax.

Monday, June 10, 2024

IEEE SENSORS 2024 Update from Dan McGrath


IEEE SENSORS 2024 Image Sensor Update

This is a follow-up to my earlier Image Sensor World post on how the program initiative related to image sensors participation in IEEE SENSORS 2024 is coming together. Two activities targeted at the image sensor community have been organized as follows:

·         A full-day workshop on Sunday, 20 October, organized by Sozo Yokogawa of SONY and Erez Tadmor of onSemi, titled “From Imaging to Sensing: Latest and Future Trends of CMOS Image Sensors”. It includes speakers from Omnivision, onSemi, Samsung, Canon, SONY, Artilux, TechInsights and Shizuoka University.

·         A focus session on Monday afternoon, 21 October, organized by S-G Wuu of Brillnics, DN Yang of TSMC and John McCarten of L3/Harris on stacking in image sensors. It will lead with an invited speaker. There is the opportunity for submitted presentations on any aspect of stacking. Those interested should submit an abstract to me at dmcgrath@ieee.org before 30 June. The selection process will be handled separately from the regular process for the conference.

This initiative is to encourage the image sensor community to give SENSORS the chance to prove itself a vibrant, interesting and welcoming home for the exchange of technical advances. It is part of the IEEE Sensors Council’s initiative to increase industrial participation across the council’s activities. Other events planned at SENSORS 2024 as part of this initiative are a session on standards and a full-day in-conference workshop on the human-machine interface. There will also be the opportunity for networking between industry and students.

Consider joining the Sensors Council – it is free if you are an IEEE member. Consider the mutual benefit of being in an organization and participating in a conference that shares more than just the name “sensors”. Our image sensor community is a leader in tackling the problems of capturing what goes on in the physical world, but there are also things that can be learned by our community from the cutting-edge work related to other sensors.

The submission date for the conference in general is at present 11 June, but there is a proposal to extend it to 25 June. Check the website.

Looking forward to seeing you in Kobe.

Dan McGrath

TechInsights Inc.

Industrial Co-Chair, IEEE SENSORS 2024

AdCom member, IEEE Solid State Circuits Society & IEEE Sensor Council


Sunday, June 09, 2024

Conference List - September 2024

IEEE International Conference on Multisensor Fusion and Integration - 4-6 Sep 2024 - Pilsen, Czechia - Website

IEEE Sensors in Spotlight 2024 - 5 Sep 2024 - Boston, Massachusetts, USA - Website

Semi MEMS and Sensors Executive Conference - 7-9 Sep 2024 - Quebec, QC, Canada - Website

Sensor China Expo & Conference 2024 - 11-13 Sep 2024 - Shanghai, China - Website

SPIE Sensors + Imaging 2024 - 16-19 Sep 2024 - Edinburgh, Scotland, UK - Website

SPIE Photonics Industry Summit - 25 Sep 2024 - Washington, DC, USA - Website

21st International Conference on IC Design and Technology - 25-27 Sep 2024 - Singapore- Website

10th International Conference on Sensors and Electronic Instrumentation Advances - 25-27 Sep 2024 - Ibiza, Spain - Website

If you know about additional local conferences, please add them as comments.

Return to Conference List index

Wednesday, June 05, 2024

ID Quauntique webinar: single photon detectors for quantum tech

In this webinar replay, we first explore the role of single-photon detectors in advancing quantum technologies, with a focus on superconducting nanowire detectors (SNSPDs) and the benefits they offer for quantum computing and high-speed quantum communication.

After which, we discuss the evolving needs of the field and describe IDQ’s user-focused detector solutions, including our innovative photon-number-resolving (PNR) SNSPDs and our new rack-mountable SNSPD system. We show real-world experiments that have already benefited from the outstanding performances of our detectors, including an enhanced heralded single-photon source and high key-rate QKD implementation.

Finally, we conclude with our vision on the future of single-photon detection for quantum information and networking, and the exciting possibilities this can unlock.

Tuesday, June 04, 2024

ISSW 2024 this week in Trento, Italy

The 2024 International SPAD Sensor Workshop is happening this week in Trento, Italy. Full program is available here: https://issw2024.fbk.eu/program



DB HiTek global shutter and SPAD

From PR Newswire: https://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/db-hitek-advances-global-shutter-and-spad-302157652.html

DB HiTek Advances Global Shutter and SPAD

SEOUL, South Korea, June 3, 2024 /PRNewswire/ -- DB HiTek, a leading foundry specialist in South Korea, is enhancing its global shutter and single-photon avalanche diode (SPAD) process technologies, which are highly utilized in the automotive, industrial, robotics, and medical fields, to expand its specialized image sensor business.

The global shutter is a sensor that captures images of fast-moving objects without distortion. The demand for global shutters is rapidly increasing in various fields, including machine vision, automotive, drones, robotics, and medical devices, with an expected annual average market growth rate of 16% from 2022 to 2029.

DB HiTek's 7 Tr charge domain global shutter achieves PLS≥35,000 at 5.6 um pixels using light shield and light guide technologies and supports various sizes down to a minimum of 2.8 um pixels (PLS≥10,000).

Parasitic light sensitivity (PLS) is a concept indicating sensitivity to light, and a PLS of 10,000 or higher demonstrates a shutter efficiency level significantly high enough to achieve a light detection rate of 99.99% (with a noise occurrence rate of less than one in 10,000).

DB HiTek's 6 Tr charge domain global shutter has secured PLS ≥10,000 and a memory dark current ≤20e/s at 60C in the 2.8 μm pixel. This process is expected to be completed and provided to customers by the end of this year.

SPAD is an ultra-high-sensitivity 3D image sensor that detects weak light signals at the particle level. It has high precision and allows for long-distance measurement, making it a key component in implementing future advanced technologies such as autonomous vehicles, AR/VR devices, robotics, and smartphones.

DB HiTek's second-generation SPAD process, utilizing a backside scattering technology (BST) and backside deep trench isolation (BDTI) in a BSI structure, achieves an advanced technological level with a photon detection probability of 15.8% at a wavelength of 940 nm. In addition, it ensures improved quality by securing a dark current rate (DCR) performance equivalent to 0.69 cps/um2, corresponding to the dark current of a typical CIS.

Building on the upgraded global shutter and second-generation SPAD process, DB HiTek plans to actively support fabless customers in expanding their specialized image sensor business.
A DB HiTek official said, "Currently, our company is collaborating with leading global companies in the United States, Europe, China, Japan, and other regions to develop products," adding, "We plan to enhance customer support by providing services such as customized processes, TDK for pixel development simulations, as well as multi-layer mask (MLM)."

Meanwhile, DB HiTek has recently expanded its X-ray CIS business by successfully developing products in collaboration with a leading medical sensor specialist in Europe. It is reported that the advanced quality and yield characteristics lead positive response from the customer, and the company will expand its business into the manufacturing sector following the medical field.

Sunday, June 02, 2024

Job Postings - Week of 2 June 2024

Vantage MedTech

FPGA Engineer (Video)

Moonachie, New Jersey, USA


Brookhaven National laboratory

Deputy Director – Instrumentation Division

Upton, New York, USA



Process Integration/Device Technology Development Engineer

Gresham, Oregon, USA



Senior Engineer, Infrared, Optical and Opto-Mechanical Sensor Products

Huntington Beach, California, USA



2024 New College Graduate (NCG)

Seremban, Negeri Sembilan, Malaysia


Siegen University

Postdoc position for pixel detectors

Siegen, Germany



Image Test Algorithm Developer

Nampa, Idaho, USA


University of Edinburgh

PhD Studentship - Adaptive Sensor Fusion for Optimised 3D Sensing

Edinburgh, Scotland, UK


European Spallation Source

Entry Level Detector Scientist - Beam Monitors

Lund, Sweden


Friday, May 31, 2024

VisEra moves towards IPO

From Yahoo Finance news: https://uk.news.yahoo.com/finance/news/tsmc-sells-shares-optical-sensor-015509757.html?guccounter=1

TSMC Sells Shares in Optical Sensor Unit Before Planned Spinoff

(Bloomberg) -- Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. sold shares in VisEra Technologies Co. before a planned initial public offering of the image sensor provider.

Taiwan’s largest chipmaker sold 38 million shares in VisEra at NT$240 ($8.60) apiece, cutting its stake in the company to 73.9%, according to a filing to the Taiwan stock exchange Tuesday. It sold the stock to 17 investors, including Fidelity International, Singapore sovereign wealth fund GIC Pte and domestic institutions Cathay Life Insurance Co. and Fubon Life Insurance Co.

The transaction was to facilitate a proposed listing of VisEra in Taiwan, TSMC said in the filing without providing further details.

TSMC set up VisEra in 2003 together with Santa Clara, California-based OmniVision Technologies Inc. before buying out its partner in 2015. The company is now seeking to spin off the unit just as a boom in semiconductor demand drives a surge in prices of chipmakers and other companies that supply to the industry. TSMC’s shares have nearly doubled over the past 12 months, making it the world’s 10th most valuable company at about $589 billion.

Thursday, May 30, 2024

Is 3D stacking for CIS unnecessary?

A recent video from GalaxyCore discusses their single wafer CIS arguing against the need for 3D stacking for higher resolution:

GalaxyCore's innovative single-wafer, high-resolution CMOS image sensor solution solves the problem of incompatibility between logic circuits and pixel technology through FPPI process and unique circuit architecture. Without the need for stacking, this advancement reduces silicon usage while maintaining performance equivalent to stacked CIS. The world's first 32-megapixel single-wafer CIS is already in mass production, and the 50-megapixel CIS has also been unveiled.

Monday, May 27, 2024

XMC plans IPO

XMC CIS Technology Platform [https://www.xmcwh.com/en/site/nor_flash]

XMC builds a full-loop & one-stop CIS (CMOS Image Sensor) technology platform. XMC has mass production capability of high-performance, low-power image sensor products. This technology can be widely used in smartphones, automotive electronics, machine vision, professional imaging and other market segments.

TrendForce News: https://www.trendforce.com/news/2024/05/15/news-xmc-initiates-ipo-plan-potentially-becoming-chinas-first-hbm-foundry/

(Also on DigiTimes Asia, but paywalled: https://www.digitimes.com/news/a20240514PD200/xmc-ipo-china-foundry-market.html)

 XMC initiates IPO in Chinese competitive foundry market

NOR Flash manufacturer Wuhan Xinxin Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. (XMC) recently disclosed an IPO counseling filing with the Hubei Securities Regulatory Bureau, according to the official website of the China Securities Regulatory Commission. Its recently announced bidding project may indicate its ambition to become China’s first HBM foundry, according to the report by Chinese media Semi Insights.

As per information from its website, XMC provides 12-inch foundry services for NOR Flash, CIS, and Logic applications with processes of 40 nanometers and above. Originally a wholly-owned subsidiary of Yangtze Memory Technologies (YMTC), XMC announced in March its first external financing round, increasing its registered capital from approximately CNY 5.782 billion to about CNY 8.479 billion. Its IPO counseling filing also indicates that it is still majority-owned by YMTC, with a shareholding ratio of 68.1937%.

According to market sources cited in the same report, XMC’s initiation of external financing and IPO plan is primarily aimed at supporting the significant expansion during a crucial development phase for YMTC. Given the substantial scale of YMTC, completing an IPO within three years poses challenges. Therefore, XMC was chosen as the IPO entity to enhance financing channels.

It is noteworthy that XMC also announced its latest bidding project on HBM (High Bandwidth Memory) – related advanced packaging technology R&D and production line construction, according to local media.

The project indicates the company’s capability to apply three-dimensional integrated multi-wafer stacking technology to develop domestically produced HBM products with higher capacity, greater bandwidth, lower power consumption, and higher production efficiency. With plans to add 16 sets of equipment, XMC’s latest project aims to achieve a monthly output capacity of over 3000 wafers (12 inches), showing its ambition of becoming China’s first HBM foundry.

On December 3, 2018, XMC announced the successful development of its three-dimensional wafer stacking technology based on its three-dimensional integration technology platform. This marks a significant advancement for the company in the field of three-dimensional integration technology, enabling higher density and more complex chip integration.

Currently, XMC has made much progress in the research and development of three-dimensional integrated multi-wafer stacking technology, which has been evident in the successful development of three-wafer stacking technology, the application of three-dimensional integration technology in back-illuminated image sensors, advancements in HBM technology research and industrialization efforts, as well as breakthroughs in the 3D NAND project.