Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Plessey Image Sensors

I was slow to realize that recently re-built Plymouth and Swindon, UK-based Plessey Semiconductor started to manufacture CMOS image sensors. The Plessey brand has been re-created by combining the former X-fab and Zarlink UK facilities:

"Over 30 different CMOS Image Sensors are manufactured by Plessey ranging in size from <1MP up to wafer-scale sensors. These products demonstrate very low dark currents, high radiation tolerance and high dynamic range. By working closely with our customers, Plessey ensures leading edge performance across a range of market sectors: Automotive, Medical, Dental X-ray, Professional Digital Photography, Industrial Imaging, Gene Sequencing, Space, Security, HD TV cameras... CMOS Image Sensors manufactured by Plessey feature low dark currents, radiation tolerant processes and a range of pixel sizes from 6.7um to 125um. Sensor sizes range from 1/2” optical format to full wafer scale sensor by using 1D or 2D stitching."

Plessey PS50480 VGA sensor features 4.2um 5T global shutter pixel made in 0.18um process. The sensor's spec looks quite nice, except of large PRNU and apparent lack of microlens:

  • 5T Pixel Architecture
  • 0.18 µm CMOS
  • 656 x 488 Pixels
  • 4.2 µm x 4.2µm Pixels
  • 1/5” Optical format
  • 1.8V Digital Power Supply
  • 3.3V Analog Power Supply
  • Global Shutter
  • 120fps at VGA resolution (640 x 480)
  • Power Consumption: 400mW
  • Full Well Charge 13500 electrons
  • Conversion Gain 70 µV/electron
  • Spectral response 0.16A/W
  • Peak QE * Fillfactor 30%
  • Fillfactor 40%
  • Dynamic Range 70dB
  • Fixed Pattern Noise (local) <0.20%
  • PRNU (local) <10%


  1. Plessey goes through difficult times. The UK fab can be stopped any moment. We are hoping that we still get our wafers which we ordered in a last time buy deal. Many of the 30 sensors fabbed are On Semi / FillFactory legacy products which are now EOL.

  2. Is this something to do with ex-X-Fab at Plymouth??

  3. Are they foundry or design house??

  4. ON Semiconductor is in direct communication with the ownership of Plessey and is actively participating in the wind down schedule. As such, ON Semiconductor has taken measures to continue supporting its customers using product coming from this particular supplier for the coming years. Product inventory has been secured to enable ON Semiconductor to supply this product to customers to cover their predictable lifetime needs to the best of the company’s ability. Where applicable, special arrangements have been worked out with customers to minimize the impact for all parties involved. Any customers with questions, please contact your local ON Semiconductor sales office or Customer Service representative.

  5. Plessey is transitioning the Plymouth facility from an outsourced manufacturing facility (semiconductor foundry) to a products company (IDM). Plessey has developed a range of its own products including a set of CMOS Image Sensors, Hall effect sensors, the award winning EPIC sensor and other multi-market products. Plessey have structured their business on the growth strategy that exists around these products.

  6. In this case, how design houses can work with them without IP protection concerning? They would like to follow AMS business model?

  7. What' s the latest on the PLesse fab story?


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