Friday, February 26, 2010

Sony CX-News Tells about New Products, 2nd Generation 1.4um Pixel

Sony Semiconductor quarterly magazine CX-News Vol. 59 has few articles about the company's recent sensor products. The most interesting one talks about the new BSI 10.3MP sensor IMX050 based on 1.65um pixel. The article is quite generic, about the only interesting number I saw is that the sensor layer is about 8um thick, including the metal interconnects. A PDF file has relatively high resolution images comparing the new IMX050 sensor with 10MP ICX675 CCD with 1.65um pixels. The first picture below is from the CCD, the second one - from the IMX050 BSI sensor, both shot at 100 Lux, F4.0, exposure 1/30s:

Future Sony BSI sensors are said to use more metal layers to achieve even higher speeds.

A specially designed CXD4122GG companion ISP chip has support for high speed sensor features up to 50fps at 10MP resolution or up to 1000fps at 224hx72v resolution. To support high-speed signal-processing, the first-generation system required DDR2- SDRAM as dedicated image-processing memory and a separate SDRAM for program memory. In the second-generation system, however, Sony has succeeded in sharing external memory for both programs and image data by revising the image bus architecture and improving the image bus utilization efficiency. The new chip also makes use of LPDDR-SDRAM bus with no terminating resistors, reducing power by half comparing with the first generation ISP. The chip uses 90nm process.

Another newly announced imagers are 1.4um FSI pixel-based ISX005 (3MP) and ISX006 (5MP) SoCs. The 1/5-inch ISX005 supports 1280 × 720p at 30fps, and the 1/4inch ISX006 supports 1920 × 1080p at 30fps and 1280 × 720p at 60fps HD video modes. Both SoCs are controlled by ARM7, equipped by 2-lane MIPI and support Scalado SpeedTags.

Another newly announced 2nd generation 1.4-um pixel sensor family for mobile applications also emphasizes high speed: 5MP/22.5fps IMX072PQ, 8MP/15fps IMX073PQ and 13MP/15fps IMX074PQ are bare sensors supporting 1080p/30fps HD video.

The sensors rely on second-generation 1.4um FSI pixel technology featured an increased full well by a factor of 1.6, resulting in improved SNR by 4.1dB over the 1st-generation 1.4um pixel IMX046PQ (probably Sony means DR rather than SNR). Sony also developed a new condensing structure, which leads light to the ultrafine pixels, and increased the sensitivity by 17% over the 1st-gen 1.4um products. Sony has also improved the color shading, which refers to uniformity across the image:

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