The development is the result of combined resources of Andor Technology (Northern Ireland), Fairchild Imaging (United States) and PCO (Germany). The companies have opened sCMOS web site entirely devoted to the new sensors.
Current scientific imaging technology standards suffer limitations in relation to a strong element of 'mutual exclusivity' between performance parameters, i.e. one can be optimized at the expense of others. sCMOS can be considered unique in its ability to concurrently deliver on many key parameters, whilst eradicating the performance drawbacks that have traditionally been associated with conventional CMOS imagers.
Performance highlights of the first sCMOS technology sensor include:
- Sensor format: 5.5 megapixels (2560(h) x 2160(v))
- Read noise: < 2 e- rms @ 30 frames/s; < 3 e- rms @ 100 frames/s
- Maximum frame rate: 105 fps for rolling shutter, 52.5fps for global shutter modes
- Pixel size: 6.5 um
- Dynamic range: > 16,000:1 (@ 30 fps)
- QEmax.: 60%
- Read out modes: Rolling and Global shutter (user selectable)
Talking about the implementation details, the sensor has split readout scheme, where top and bottom part of the sensor are read out independently. Each column coupled to two amplifiers with high and low gain and two ADCs, as on the figure below:
Update: As the whitepaper says, the sensor has <1% non-linearity, which can be corrected down to 0.2%. Antiblooming protection is stated as better than 10,000:1. The charge transfer time is said to be less that 1us, enabling very fast exposure times. This again rises the question about completeness of the charge transfer and image lag.
Update #2: Below is the chip view. The readout occupies a huge area, even knowing there are two separate readouts on top and bottom and double CDS and ADCs in each of them. Why it's so large? May be because the noise is suppressed in a bruteforce manner by using very large caps?