2012 VLSI Circuit Symposium agenda has been published some time ago. There is no classical image sensor papers this year. Few interesting image sensor related papers are below:
Looks like gesture recognition application blends the border between ToF imagers, THz imaging and mm-band radars (session 7):
A 94GHz mm-Wave to Baseband Pulsed-Radar for Imaging and Gesture Recognition
A. Arbabian, S. Kang*, S. Callender*, J.-C. Chien*, B. Afshar*, A. Niknejad*, Stanford University, *University of California, Berkeley
An integrated phase-coherent and pixel-scalable pulsed-radar transceiver with on-chip tapered loop antennas generates programmable pulses down to 36ps using an integrated 94GHz carrier, frequency synthesized and locked to an external reference. A DLL controls the TX pulse position with 2.28ps resolution, which allows the chip to function as a unit element in a timed-array. The receiver also features a >1.5THz GBW DA as the front-end amplifier, wideband quadrature mixers, and a 26GHz quadrature baseband. Phase coherency allows for ~375μm single-target position resolution by interferometry.
Another imager-like radar works at slightly lower frequency band, but still is a single-chip design:
A UWB IR Timed-Array Radar Using Time-Shifted Direct-Sampling Architecture
C.-M. Lai, K.-W. Tan, L.-Y. Yu, Y.-J. Chen, J.-W. Huang, S.-C. Lai, F.-H. Chung, C.-F. Yen, J.-M. Wu, P.-C. Huang, K.-J. Chang, S.-Y. Huang, T.-S. Chu, National Tsing Hua University
A UWB impulse radio (IR) timed-array radar using time-shifted direct-sampling architecture is presented. The transmitter array can generate and send a variety of 10GS/s pulses towards targets. The receiver array samples the reflected signal in RF domain directly by time interleaved sampling with equivalent sampling rate of 20 GS/s. The radar system can determine time of arrival (TOA) and direction of arrival (DOA) through time-shifted sampling edges which are generated by on-chip digital-to-time converters (DTC). The proposed architecture has range and azimuth resolution of 0.75 cm and 3 degree respectively. This prototype is implemented in a 0.18μm CMOS technology.
While we are dreaming to reach full well of a mega-electron, it looks like HgCdTe guys enjoy measuring their full wells in giga-electrons (Session 15):
An 88dB SNR, 30µm Pixel Pitch Infra-Red Image Sensor with a 2-Step 16 bit A/D Conversion
A. Peizerat, J.-P. Rostaing, N. Zitouni, N. Baier, F. Guellec, R. Jalby, M. Tchagaspanian, CEA-LETI, Minatec
A new readout IC (ROIC) with a 2 step A/D conversion for cooled infrared image sensors is presented in this paper. The sensor operates at a 50Hz frame rate in an Integrate-While-Read snapshot mode. The 16 bit ADC resolution preserves the excellent detector SNR at full well (~3Ge-). The ROIC, featuring a 320x256 array with 30µm pixel pitch, has been designed in a standard 0.18µm CMOS technology. The IC has been hybridized (indium bump bonding) to a LWIR (Long Wave Infra Red) detector fabricated using our in-house HgCdTe process. The first measurement results of the detector assembly validate both the 2-step ADC concept and its circuit implementation. This work sets a new state-of-the-art SNR of 88dB.