Imaging Resource, CNET: Canon announced that it has successfully developed the world's largest CMOS image sensor, with a chip size measuring 202 x 205 mm2. The newly developed CMOS sensor is among the largest chips that can be produced from a 12-inch wafer, and is approximately 40 times the size of Canon's largest commercial CMOS sensor. By ensuring the cleanroom environments during the production process, Canon minimizes image imperfections and dust.
Canon said it has solved large sensor speed problem through an innovative circuit design, making possible the realization of a massive video-compatible CMOS sensor. The sensor makes possible the image capture in one one-hundredth the amount of light required by a 35 mm full-frame CMOS sensor, facilitating the shooting of 60 frame-per-second video with a mere 0.3 lux of illumination, about one-half the brightness of a moonlit night.
Potential applications for the new high-sensitivity CMOS sensor include the video recording of stars in the night sky and nocturnal animal behavior.
No word is said on the sensor resolution or its pixel size. Also, it's not clear what fab Canon used to produce that large sensor. The picture below compares the new sensor with a full-frame 35mm one:
Update: Tech-On presents more details on the Canon's giant sensor. Its pixel pitch is 160um and the resolution is just 1.6MP.
Update #2: Imaging Resource published Canon Expo 2010 report mentioning a huge 300mm wafer-sized sensor. I'm not sure this is the same sensor, as report mentions 600um pixel size, 1MP resolution - the numbers do not make sense. Even assuming 300mm per side (exact size is not mentioned in the report), there would be only 500 x 500 pixels, much below the stated 1MP. The minimum illumination is 1 Lux. The sensor is currently used in a telescope in Japan. Here is the picture from the report: