Thursday, July 30, 2009
But Kodak is not going to let sensors “die on the vine,” said its spokesman David Lanzillo. “We continue to see a lot of potential with the technology,” he said, adding that Kodak continues to look for business partners or other options for its sensor business.
Update: Seeking Alpha published Kodak Q2'2009 Earnings Call. Here is the quote related to the CIS business status:
Ulysses Janice - Buckman & Reed:
On another subject, CMOS, I saw your new video camera you announced. It’s using a 5-megapixel CMOS. I assume it’s your CMOS.
Antonio M. Perez:
No, it’s not ours, no. It’s not ours.
Ulysses Janice - Buckman & Reed:
Antonio M. Perez:
Ulysses Janice - Buckman & Reed:
How is that project going?
Antonio M. Perez:
CMOS is one of the businesses that is in transformation. If you look at the industry, you know the industry is under distress, as you know. If you look at the comments of the large users, such as Nokia, you know, Motorola, Samsung and all the others, they all predict significant declines for next year so it is a tough time to make investments in the business, you know, whose projection is pretty poor for the next few years. So we are still looking for what is the best alternative for the shareholders as far as monetizing those assets.
Wednesday, July 29, 2009
CMOS image sensor unit shipments dominate over CCDs nearly 10 to 1 across all market segments, reports In-Stat. However, excluding the nearly 1.3 billion CMOS camera phone image sensors, CCDs remain strong contenders across several application segments including digital still cameras, camcorders and video surveillance.
CMOS image sensors have captured low cost applications, such as PC cameras and toys, while CCDs have remained the dominant image sensor in higher end cameras. However, by 2013 CMOS will have surpassed CCDs across virtually every segment, including still cameras, camcorders and security cameras. Other findings:
- CMOS sensors dominated image sensor shipments in 2008, with more than an 87% share.
- By 2013, CCD is expected to comprise less than 4% of the total area image sensor market.
- Embedded PC cameras will surpass digital still cameras to become the second-largest application for image sensors by 2011.
- CMOS will make up 62% of security camera image sensors by 2013.
Production of Nemotek Technologie’s advanced WLP will take place in its 10,000sq.m facility. This facility includes a certified Class 10 clean room – the first in Africa located in the Rabat Technopolis Park, a hub for technology development in Morocco.
Monday, July 27, 2009
I wonder if the EDOF is mainly needed to cover optics assembly tolerances, or there is enough enhancement to provide extended focus even after the misalignments take their toll.
Sunday, July 26, 2009
CMOS image sensor trend also looks similar, with number of the new web documents appearing at about half the rate of 2006:
Does this mean the industry is maturing up and there are less news to report? Or people are busy working and not writing much?
Thursday, July 23, 2009
Wednesday, July 22, 2009
"On July 10, 2009, the Company sold a 65% interest in Aptina Imaging Corporation (“Aptina”), a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Company and a significant component of its Imaging segment, to Riverwood Capital (“Riverwood”) and TPG Capital (“TPG”). Under the agreement, the Company received approximately $35 million in cash and retained a 35% minority stake in Aptina after Riverwood and TPG contributed significant debt-free capital to the independent, privately-held, company. The Company also retained all cash held by Aptina and its subsidiaries. The Company will account for its remaining interest in Aptina under the equity method. The Company’s Imaging segment will continue to manufacture products for Aptina under a wafer supply agreement and will provide services to Aptina. In the third quarter of 2009, the Company recorded a charge of $53 million, the estimated loss on the transaction, to write down certain Aptina intangible assets and property, plant and equipment to estimated fair values."
So, after the transaction Micron retains 35% of Aptina and got in exchange $35M. Assuming Aptina employees stock options are about 15%, Riverwood and TPG hold 50% of the new company and paid $35M for that. This means the total Aptina valuation is about $70M.
Another possibility is that employees stock options are accounted as a future dilution, so Riverwood and TPG paid $35M for 65% of Aptina stock. In that case the total valuation of Aptina would be $54M. In both cases it's much lower than Omnivision's valuation. Am I missing something?
Correction: After discussing it with a reg. accountant it's clear to me that without knowing the exact amount of cash taken from and given to Aptina there is no chance to calculate the company value, not even approximately.
The marketing portion includes Strategies Unlimited and Toshiba presentation:
The Image Sensor Market: Entering a New Phase
Dr Tom Hausken, Market Analyst, STRATEGIES UNLIMITED INC
- The electronic imaging market is entering a 5th stage
- From vacuum tubes and early CCD and CMOS sensors, to the success of lithography techniques that put CMOS at the forefront
- What happens next? Steady growth gives way to cyclic behavior; attention turns from pixel count to other features
- Highlights from our most recent and just-completed market forecast
Shri Sundaram, Imaging & Communications Product Marketing, TOSHIBA AMERICA ELECTRONICS COMPONENTS INC
- Image sensor market has experienced significant growth over the last 5-6 years (thanks to cellphone)
- New uses of image sensors will spur the growth further
- New opportunities for both product development as well as application development
Joint Digital-optical Imaging System Design: The New Frontier
Dr Kathrin Berkner, Senior Research Scientist,RICOH INNOVATIONS
- Overview of the joint digital-optical design framework (JDOD)
- Opportunities – smaller, cheaper, and improved performance
- Challenges – design tools, hardware, manufacture and test
- Examples – concepts, prototypes, products
- Ricoh’s position in the global imaging market
Dr Sang-Soo Lee, VP Research Center,HYNIX SEMICONDUCTOR AMERICA
- Recent trends in pixel architectures
- Analog read channel architectures
- CIS chip architectures for different resolutions
Actually, the technology itself was announced almost a year ago at Photokina 2008. It mostly relies on known and proven solutions - I do not see anything revolutionary here. Still, putting all the pieces together and using Fuji marketing muscles might help to jump start the new market.
On the other hand, Fuji is quite conservative in its sales targets. It only expects to sell 100K 3D cameras in a year, as Reuters reports. May be $641 price tag is the reason for such a modest sales projection.
Tuesday, July 21, 2009
Monday, July 20, 2009
The OV7739 is immediately available in volume production.
Thursday, July 16, 2009
Orton, 53, most recently served as CEO at venture-backed start up, DSM Solutions. Prior to that, Orton was Executive VP of Visual and Media Businesses for AMD following the company’s acquisition of ATI. Prior to this acquisition, Orton served as the president and CEO of ATI from 2000 to 2006. Prior to joining ATI, Orton was President and CEO at the high-performance 3-D graphics company, ArtX, which was acquired by ATI in 2000.
Prior to joining ArtX, Orton served in a number of senior management roles at SGI. His experience also includes graphics and semiconductor work for GE and Bell Laboratories. Orton holds several patents in graphics and computer architecture.
Wednesday, July 15, 2009
Monday, July 13, 2009
The signal is “rearranged” such that the photocarriers captured by the "wrong" pixels are "restored" to the pixel they initially originated from without signal loss and additive noise."
The net result of QESR algorithm is 10% low-light sensitivity improvement and more:
The company's poster is here.
Saturday, July 11, 2009
Friday, July 10, 2009
Thanks to S.S. for the link.
Thursday, July 09, 2009
SiOnyx company was founded to turn black silicon's potential into commercial devices, including high-sensitivity image sensors based on photoconductive gain. While the company's process doesn't use completely flat silicon, the SiOnyx researchers cut down the cone height from microns to about 200 nanometers to help the fabrication process and have recently demonstrated the prototype sensors.
Harvard University Prof. Mazur's lab has now added a new twist to the black-silicon production process, taking advantage of the absorption and high-gain properties of black silicon but keeping the material completely flat. That could help overcome fabrication challenges and allow for more detailed study of the material. The new material is nicknamed pink silicon.
Wednesday, July 08, 2009
Since the nomination and voting process is completely open, I hope there would be no complaints on merits and criteria.
I plan to collect the nominations after a week and put them into a poll list using Blogger vote gadget, something like on the picture below:
Multiple choices will be allowed, so if someone hesitates between two or three candidates, she/he can vote for all. One thing I worry of is that big organizations like Omnivision or Aptina can promote their papers over smaller players, such as Siliconfile or CMOSIS. My hope is that purely technical considerations would prevail over corporate solidarity.
OK, let's start. I will post my candidates in the comments below.
The 1/4 inch OV9715 delivers low light performance of 3300 mV/(lux-sec). The OV9715 is currently sampling with volume production slated for the second half of calendar 2009. AEC-Q100 qualification and PPAP are expected to be completed by Q3'09.
Tuesday, July 07, 2009
Leading CIS manufacturers: Capacity arrangement
Two 8-inch fabs, one 12-inch fab
VGA, 1.3M, 2M, 3M, 5M, 8M, 10M
Three 8-inch fabs, one 12-inch fab
VGA, 1.3M, 3M, 5M
One 8-inch fab
VGA, 2M, 5M, 8M
Monday, July 06, 2009
Low Crosstalk and Low Dark Current CMOS Image Sensor Technology Using a Hole-Based Detector.
Eric Stevens, Hung Doan, Jeffery Kyan, Gang Shi, Jian Wu, Hirofumi Komori, Hiroaki Fujita, Christopher Parks, Cristian Tivarus
Proc. ISSCC, pp.59-61 San Francisco, California USA February 2008.
Congratulations to the whole Kodak team!
Saturday, July 04, 2009
Spare expects Canesta's first 3-D chips to be used in industrial devices - such as cameras that count prescription pills - later this year. Consumer gadgets using the sensors should hit the market next year.
Thursday, July 02, 2009
Sony paper is named "High-saturation output 1.55-um-square pixel IT-CCD with metal wiring line structure in a pixel". What I was able to understand from Google translation, Sony used low temperature process to minimize diffusion and get more abrupt junction and increase the photodiode capacitance in small pixels.
Omnivision's paper is titled "The Mass Production of BSI CMOS Image Sensors: Performance Results". Google translation gives the following performance numbers for the pixels, as far as I can understand:
- 1.4um and 1.75um pixels BSI mass produced using bulk P-epi/P-sub
- 2-shared pixel design
- 110nm (FEOL) & 90nm (BEOL) process (1.4um pixel is 90nm/90nm)
- QE (R / Gb / Gr / B): 1.4um = 43.8/53.5/53.6/51.6%, 1.75um = 53.0/60.1/60.2/60.4
- Full Well: 1.4um = 4,500 e, 1.75um = 6,500 e
- SNR10: 1.4 um = 110Lux, 1.75um = 60Lux
- Both pixels have the read noise of 1-2e
- No Image Lag
- Dark Current is 22 ~ 27e / s @ 50C (80e/sec @ 60C)
Honestly, I was disappointed to see relatively low QE despite all the added process complexity. I doubt that switch to BSI is justifiable with these QE numbers. Obviously, QE is not the whole story, one needs to look at color crosstalk too. I'd guess the crosstalk is rather low, otherwise SNR10 of 110Lux would not be achieved.
Smartphone Image Sensor Suppliers
Talking about HTC Hero, Digitimes say that Aptina supplies 60%, while Samsung - 40% of the phone sensors. Aptina will supply more than 50% sensors for HTC handsets in the second half of 2009, and the rest will be shared by Samsung and ST, the sources indicated.
Wednesday, July 01, 2009
The Siemens researchers claim their spraying method generates active semiconductor of a rather good quality. They say that the diodes feature very low dark current and also a very high efficiency of 75%. In addition, the lifetime can be expected at six years, and the speed is high enough to use the diodes in computer tomography applications. The image lag, another relevant parameter for these applications, is significantly better than with available photo detectors made of amorphous silicon.
The prototype introduced by the Siemens researchers features 256 x 256 pixels, but since the process scales well, it is said to be possible to produce diode arrays with more than 1000 x 1000 pixels.
Meanwhile, Fujifilm researchers present their organic sensor paper on Technical Group on Information Sensing Technologies (IST) meeting on July 24, 2009 in Japan. Their paper is titled:
"CMOS Image Sensor with a Thin Overlaid Panchromatic Organic Photoconductive Layer as the Best Candidate for Sensors with Reduced Pixel Size."