Thursday, April 04, 2013

SiOnyx Announces First Products

PR Newswire: SiOnyx announces the XQE family of CMOS image sensors. XQE sensors are said to deliver "unprecedented performance advantages in infrared imaging with sensitivity enhancements as high as 10x incumbent solutions." The XQE family includes three sensors: the 10um pixel-based 1.3MP XQE-1310, and the 5.6um pixel-based 1.0MP XQE-0920 and 0.6MP XQE-0570. The XQE sensor family is based upon SiOnyx’ black silicon technology that enhances the sensitivity of silicon based light detectors. All sensors in the XQE family have ultra-low read noise and 72dB of native DR. Additionally, all XQE sensors have on-chip HDR features that allow up to 120dB dynamic range capability. XQE sensors are fabricated with a standard CMOS process that offers low power, low dark current, and no sensor cooling requirements.

"These new XQE sensors represent a tremendous accomplishment for our sensor team and our company," said Stephen Saylor, President and CEO of SiOnyx. "Since CCD and CMOS sensors were invented decades ago, image sensor development has focused almost entirely on capturing images in the visible spectrum. XQE sensors build upon this foundation of excellence and add a new dimension of extraordinarily high sensitivity in the near infrared spectrum."

IR sensitivity is important in many applications including biometrics, eye tracking, gesture recognition and surveillance. In surveillance, enhanced IR sensitivity takes advantage of the naturally occurring IR ‘nightglow’ to enable imaging under conditions that normally require very expensive image intensified night vision equipment.

"IR imaging is a fundamental enabler for any man-machine interface," said Dr. Homayoon Haddad, VP Engineering and CTO of SiOnyx. "Applications as diverse as autonomous vehicles and gaming depend on IR light to enable systems to measure, analyze, and adapt to the environment around them."

SiOnyx XQE image sensors are sampling in Q2 2013 to customers interested in evaluating the use of XQE image sensors in next generation imaging platforms.

XQE-1310 moonless night 1/30s f1.4
XQE-0570 full moon 1/30s f1.2
XQE-0920 exhibits similar night vision performance


  1. Nice to see something come out of the hoopla of a few years ago.

    hmmm the 1310 image is 355x268 -- a little shy of 1.3 Mpixels!

    So if it is binned I guess we should compare this to the recent Canon post on its device at night. I am not sure it is noticeably better.

    The specs don't list read noise or dark current - sort of the two critical specs one wants to know for low light imaging. Lag would be good to spec as well.

    Is this a monolithic sensor? 3T? Aside from the photodetector, it looks like they are also walking into an IP minefield, even if "CMOS sensors were invented decades ago" (not quite true but almost).

    1. Maybe there are some iTAR concerns???

    2. what IP minefield are you getting at?

      You published papers yourself, as did IMEC in the early 90's, about CMOS imagers, so it must have been "invented" somewhat before let's say it was at least before 1993...that's 20 years ago or..."decades" (2) ago ...

    3. Eric is right. You talk about the "old" CMOS sensors. You can use what were done by IMEC, but you can sell it to nobody. If you want to make modern CMOS image sensor, then you have to be very well armed against all the patents filed in any aspects from design to process passing by applications.

  2. With 10um pixel pitch, a normal 4T pixel can give much better results. But still it's a good news to see concrete products from this company. Hope that this is not marcom joke...

  3. re: SiOnyx "black silicon" technology that enhances the sensitivity of silicon based light detectors; it looks like they are also walking into another IP minefield. Note the prior art on front side texture “Light sensor having undulating features for CMOS imager,” US Patent, No. 7,456,452, and on backside texture, “Multiple Internal Reflection Structure in a Silicon (Photo)Detector ............,” US Patent, No. 3,487,223. Meanwhile SiOnyx applications:
    13/101,072 2012-0111396 Saylor et al. has yet to receive an office action and seems to be a repetition of prior published material
    12/553,861 2010-0052088 Carey et al. is under final rejection and their primary device claim for a photodetector has been withdrawn

  4. the near infrared responsivity of textured (black silicon) is enhanced mostly around 1.1um wavelengths, given that in these images it seems there is not much difference between a moonless night and a night with moon light one must assume that the the illumination is due mostly to skylight or artificial light and light pollution. At 1.1um there is at least an order of magnitude difference in the spectral irradiance between a moonless night and a night with moon light, without light pollution there would be an obvious difference in the images. As noted above there are no specs on noise or dark current that determine the low light performance.


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