Tuesday, October 26, 2021

Smartsens Progresses with IPO at Valuation of $4.4B

EE-Ofweek (Google automatic translation): Smartsens plans to go public and has been accepted by the SSE Science and Technology Innovation Board on June 28. The sponsor is China Securities. It is proposed to publicly issue no more than 49.1 million shares, not less than 10%, and plan to raise 2.82 billion yuan for the equipment and system construction project of the R&D center, the image sensor chip test project, CMOS sensor chip upgrade and industrialization project and supplementary working capital (790 million yuan).

These numbers put Smarsens valuation at 28.2 billion yuan, or $4.4 billion.

Smartsens CEO and founder Xu Chen (Richard Xu) is the controlling shareholder and actual controller of the company, and the CTO Mo Yaowu is the second largest shareholder. Among them, Xu Chen directly holds 15.23% of the company’s shares, with 47.32% of the voting rights, and Mo Yaowu directly holds 6.66% of the company’s shares, with 4.14% of the voting rights, and the two together Holds 21.89% of the company’s shares, with a total of 51.46% of the company’s voting rights and these voting rights are owned or controlled by Xu Chen.

Revenue has grown by leaps and bounds, but compared with peers, the scale is still small, and the gross profit margin is lower than the peer average.

Smartsens products are used in many high-tech applications such as security monitoring, machine vision, and intelligent vehicle electronics. From 2018 to 2020 and from January to March 2021, the company's operating income was 325 million yuan, 678 million yuan, 1.527 billion yuan and 541 million yuan, respectively, with a year-on-year increase of 92% and 124.89% in 2019 and 2020; net profits were 166 million yuan, 242 million yuan, 121 million yuan and 69 million yuan, respectively, with a total loss of 408 million yuan in 2018 and 2019 Yuan, starting to turn losses into profits in 2020.

From 2018 to 2020 and from January to March 2021, the company's FSI series sales were 56 million units, 86 million units, 139 million units, and 49 million units, with revenues of 284 million yuan, 480 million yuan, 880 million yuan and 288 million yuan, accounting for 87.45%, 70.61%, 57.66% and 53.3% of revenue, respectively, and their proportions continued to decline. ; The company’s sales of BSI-RS products were 2.0483 million, 9.243,900, 27,624,400, and 11.11 million, respectively, with revenues of 0.36 billion yuan, 149 million yuan, 473 million yuan and 157 million yuan, the proportion of revenue increased from 10.99% in 2018 to 30.97% in 2020.

Monday, October 25, 2021

EPIC Meeting on Low-Light Imaging

EPIC Technology Meeting on Low Light Cameras Technology and Applications features Valeo, Ibeo, Leica, and Thales presentations. Few slides are below:

Sigmaintell: CIS Prices Go Down

Science and Technology Materials quotes Sigmaintell China CIS market price tracker predicting 5-7% price decline in Q4 2021:

"At the beginning of 21Q4, the CIS inventory level continues to rise, but there is no significant increase in demand. The specific analysis is as follows: on the supply side, affected by the decline in demand, the supply of low- and medium- pixel capacity is reduced, and the inventory is prioritized. The new capacity of high pixel products continues to increase in 21Q4. On the demand side, the demand for smartphones has been reduced, and the demand for CIS stocking has been continuously reduced. In summary , the overall pixel supply-demand relationship in October shows an oversupply situation. According to the latest survey data from Sigmaintell in October, the prices of low pixel products have begun to loosen up, and the prices of 48M+ pixel products have continued to fall."

Friday, October 22, 2021

Quantum Dot Sensor Company SWIR Vision Raises $5M in A-Round

Optics.org, EINPressWireSWIR Vision Systems, a Durham, North Carolina, company developing colloidal quantum dots (CQDs) image sensor has raised $5M in a round A of funding. SWIR Vision Systems has been founded in 2018 as a spin-off from the Research Triangle Institute. The company's “Acuros” family of thermoelectrically cooled CMOS-based CQD sensors reaches 2.1MP resolution.

While InGaAs SWIR cameras are generally constrained to 640×512 or 1280×1024 pixel formats, our pioneering CQD sensor technology enables 2.1 megapixel, full-HD resolution, the first commercially available SWIR product of its kind.

The new eSWIR version of the product family operates across an extended wavelength range, between 350 nm and 2000 nm, with a pixel pitch of 15 ┬Ám. 

The company's Vimeo video compares regular RGB imaging with SWIR in foggy environment.

Thursday, October 21, 2021

China Domestic Market Dynamics

Sohu: Sunrise Big Data publishes its analysis of unit volume CIS market in Q1 2021. Galaxycore quickly captures a market share from Sony, Samsung, and Omnivision, as compared with Q4 2020:

"According to Sunrise Big Data statistics, global smartphone CMOS image sensor shipments in Q1 2021 will be 1.413 billion, of which Galaxycore will ship about 447 million, accounting for 31.6% , ranking first.

According to the observation, Galaxycore has also become a sensor head supplier in the security, automotive and other sub-sectors. In the first half of 2021 , Galaxycore CIS non-mobile phone business revenue has exceeded 100 million US dollars , exceeding the full year of 2020."

ToF Basics by Terabee

Terabee publishes a few webinars on ToF technology basics and applications:

Wednesday, October 20, 2021

TI Proprietary V3Link Competes with MIPI A-PHY

TI presentation "V3Link Industrial SerDes" unveils the company's approach to compete with MIPI A-PHY and Auto-Serdes standards:

Tuesday, October 19, 2021

Smartsens Improves its AI Sensor Series

CoreIntelligence (Google translation): SmartSens keeps a high pace of incremental improvements and launches three new 4MP image sensors in AI series (AI stands for Advanced Imaging) for security applications-SC400AI, SC401AI, and SC433:

"The performance has been significantly improved compared with the previous generation products. It is equipped with Smartsens' innovative SFCPixel patented technology, which can achieve excellent night vision full-color imaging effects.

In addition, thanks to the PixGain dual-pixel conversion gain technology, SC401AI improves the image quality while further expanding the applicability of terminal products. As a product of the same specification as SC401AI, SC400AI has a frame rate of up to 60fps and can support 30fps dynamic line overlap HDR (Staggered HDR) image output, which provides customers with more choices while imaging performance is upgraded.

Compared with the previous generation products, the full well electrons of SC400AI and SC401AI have increased by 48.6%, the dynamic range has increased by 3dB, and the QE (quantum efficiency) in the 520nm band has increased by 42%."

Monday, October 18, 2021

Applied Materials' DTI Optimizations for CIS

Applied Materials master class presentation for investors shows the company's efforts on image sensor DTI process refinements:

AAA Tests: Camera-Based ADAS Fails in Rain

AAA: New research from AAA finds that moderate to heavy rain affects a vehicle safety system’s ability to “see”, which may result in performance issues. During closed course testing, AAA simulated rainfall and found that test vehicles equipped with automatic emergency braking traveling at 35 mph collided with a stopped vehicle one third (33%) of the time. Lane keeping assistance didn’t fare any better with test vehicles departing their lane 69% of the time. Vehicle safety systems, also known as advanced driver assistance systems or ADAS, are typically evaluated in ideal operating conditions. However, AAA believes testing standards must incorporate real-world conditions that drivers normally encounter.

Vehicle safety systems rely on sensors and cameras to see road markings, other cars, pedestrians and roadway obstacles. So naturally, they are more vulnerable to environmental factors like rain,” said Greg Brannon, AAA’s director of automotive engineering and industry relations. “The reality is people aren’t always driving around in perfect, sunny weather so we must expand testing and take into consideration things people actually contend with in their day-to-day driving.

An AAA video shows that even a moderate rain interferes with the camera-based emergency braking:

Sunday, October 17, 2021

IEDM 2021: Canon Presents 3.2MP SPAD Sensor for Low-Light Imaging

IEDM publishes few pictures from Canon's IEDM paper #20.2, “3.2 Megapixel 3D-Stacked Charge Focusing SPAD for Low-Light Imaging and Depth Sensing,” K. Morimoto/J. Iwata et al.

3D Backside-Illuminated SPAD Imager Sensors: Unlike the CMOS image sensors found in smartphones, which measure the amount of light reaching a sensor’s pixels in a given timeframe, single photon avalanche diode (SPAD) image sensors detect each photon that reaches the pixel. Each photon is converted into an electric charge, and the electrons that result are eventually multiplied in avalanche fashion until they form an output signal. SPAD image sensors hold great promise for high-performance, low-light imaging applications, for depth sensing, and for fully digital system architectures.

However, until now their performance has been limited by tradeoffs in pixel detection efficiency vs. pixel size, and by poor signal-to-noise ratios. Recently a charge-focusing approach was proposed to overcome these issues, but until now it remained to be implemented. In a late-news paper, Canon researchers will discuss how they did so, with the industry’s first 3D-stacked backside-illuminated (BSI) charge-focusing SPADs. The devices featured the largest array size ever reported for a SPAD image sensor (3.2 megapixels) and demonstrated a photon detection efficiency of 24.4%, and timing jitter below 100ps at 940 nm.

From the images below:
(a) is a full-resolution color intensity image captured by the 3.2megapixel SPAD image sensor at a high light level.

(b) is a monochrome intensity image captured by the device under a scene illumination of 2mlux (without post-processing)

(c) is a monochrome intensity image captured by the device under a scene illumination of 0.3mlux (without post-processing)

a full-resolution color intensity image captured
by the 3.2megapixel SPAD image sensor
at a high light level.
a monochrome intensity image captured
 by the device under a scene illumination
 of 2mlux (without post-processing)
a monochrome intensity image captured
by the device under a scene illumination
 of 0.3mlux (without post-processing)