Saturday, September 22, 2012

Panasonic to Launch 1.12um FSI Pixel

Tech-On published more details about Panasonics's oncoming 13MP sensor for smartphones. The sensor format is 1/3.06-inch, meaning the pixel size of about 1.1um. It belongs to its SmartFSI family. This makes Panasonic the only company talking about a non-BSI 1.1um pixel.

The new pixel sensitivity is said to be the highest in the industry at 3,230e-/lx/sec/sq.um. Panasonic claims it has improved S/N ratio by a factor of two. A "light-concentrating structure" improves the new pixel's color reproducibility and angular response.

Another three new features of the sensor, as quoted by Tech-On:

  • high-sensitivity photo diode: wide, deep photo diodes in small pixels
  • microfabrication technology, which reduces parasitic capacitance for improving the sensitivity of in-pixel amplifier and reducing the noise of transistor
  • optimal matching design technology for the lens of camera module and the light-concentrating structure developed by Panasonic

7 comments:

  1. I thought Watanabe-san's (et al.) paper at the 2011 IEDM on this topic was quite good. It is interesting that they can extend it to 1.12 um (he said they would) but after that they might have trouble staying competitive. Meanwhile, everyone else is sorting out BSI fabrication issues so when it comes time for Panasonic to make that transition they are going to be at a disadvantage. Still, I like how they have pushed light guides for FSI. Nice work.

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    1. The fact that this sensor is still FSI does not tell us anything about possible BSI efforts of Panasonic. If it is correct that they do have the highest sensitivity in the industry for a 1.1 um pixel, then they have a "cheaper" technology than any BSI competitor. That by itself is also an important advantage.

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    2. There is a big difference between experimenting with BSI and going into full scale production. It is that learning curve that I am referring to. It will be interesting to see if they capture significant market share with their technology.

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    3. what is the market share of Aptina in mobile market? there is no news on this subject, crzay!

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  2. What is the dark current level on such kind of pixel??

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  3. Is there an advantage in overall image quality in pushing to such small pixels?

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    1. This is an age-old debate. In traditional imaging, the advantage of small pixels is having more pixels in the same size chip. SNR of each individual pixel suffers, but perceived image quality goes up. It has to do with how the eye and brain processes images, I guess. In the QIS concept, image quality can improve but the flexibility in creating the image goes way up, and the image quality is as high as possible for any of the created images.
      Smaller pixels with the same number of pixels (smaller chips) typically does not lead to an improvement in SNR nor image image quality. But it does make sensors less expensive and embedded everywhere.

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