Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Image Sensors at ISSCC 2014

ISSCC 2014 Advance Program has been published and revealed a number of image sensor papers. First, there is F2 forum "3D Stacking Technologies for Image Sensors and Memories" featuring presentations from Sony, TSMC, STMicro and Tohoku University:

3D System Module with Stacked Image Sensors, Stacked Memories and Stacked Processors on a Si Interposer
Mitsumasa Koyanagi , Tohoku University, Sendai, Japan

Challenges and Opportunities of 3D Chips Stacking - A Foundry’s Perspective
Douglas Yu, TSMC, Hsinchu, Taiwan

3D Stacked CMOS Image Sensor Exmor RSTM
Taku Umebayashi, Sony, Kanagawa, Japan

Evolution of 3D Integration for CMOS Image Sensor Cameras
Lindsay Grant, STMicroelectronics, Edinburgh, United Kingdom

The Image Sensors session has 6 papers, 3 of them are devoted to ToF devices. The most interesting one presents Microsoft's new Kinect solution:

A 512×424 CMOS 3D Time-of-Flight Image Sensor with Multi-Frequency Photo-Demodulation up to 130MHz and 2GS/s ADC
A. Payne, A. Daniel, A. Mehta, B. Thompson, C. S. Bamji, D. Snow, H. Oshima, L. Prather, M. Fenton, L. Kordus, P. O’Connor, R. McCauley, S. Nayak, S. Acharya, S. Mehta, T. Elkhatib, T. Meyer, T. O’Dwyer, T. Perry, V-H. Chan, V. Wong, W. Qian, Z. Xu
Microsoft, Mountain View, CA

Other papers are:

1/4-inch 8Mpixel CMOS Image Sensor with 3D Backside-Illuminated 1.12μm Pixel with Front-Side Deep-Trench Isolation and Vertical Transfer Gate
J. Ahn, K. Lee, Y. Kim, H. Jeong, B. Kim, H. Kim, J. Park, T. Jung, W. Park, T. Lee, E. Park, S. Choi, G. Choi, H. Park, Y. Choi, S. Lee, Y. Kim, Y. J. Jung, D. Park, S. Nah, Y. Oh, M. Kim, Y. Lee, Y. Chung, I. Hisanori,J. Im, D-K. Lee, B. Yim, G. Lee, H. Kown, S. Choi, J. Lee, D. Jang, Y. Kim, T. C. Kim, G. Hiroshige, C-Y. Choi, D. Lee, G. Han
Samsung Electronics, Yongin, Korea

243.3pJ/pixel Bio-Inspired Time-Stamp-Based 2D Optic Flow Sensor for Artificial Compound Eyes
S. Park, J. Cho, K. Lee, E. Yoon
University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI

A 1000fps Vision Chip Based on a Dynamically Reconfigurable Hybrid Architecture Comprising a PE Array and Self-Organizing Map Neural Network
C. Shi, J. Yang, Y. Han, Z. Cao, Q. Qin, L. Liu, N-J. Wu, Z. Wang
Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing, China
Tsinghua University, Beijing, China

A 413×240-Pixel Sub-Centimeter Resolution Time-of-Flight CMOS Image Sensor with In-Pixel Background Canceling Using Lateral-Electric-Field Charge Modulators
S-M. Han, T. Takasawa, T. Akahori, K. Yasutomi, K. Kagawa, S. Kawahito
Shizuoka University, Hamamatsu, Japan
Brookman Technology, Hamamatsu, Japan

A 0.3mm-Resolution Time-of-Flight CMOS Range Imager with Column-Gating Clock-Skew Calibration
K. Yasutomi, T. Usui, S-M. Han, T. Takasawa, K. Kagawa, S. Kawahito
Shizuoka University, Hamamatsu, Japan


  1. It is a bit scary to see the same trend at ISSCC14 as observed already at IEDM13 and EI14 : the number of imaging papers is decreasing. And moreover, the number of imaging papers coming from the industry is drastically decreasing. On the other hand, the number of submissions for IISW13 was still pretty high and about the same level as IISW11. Does that mean that all imaging presentations/publications/papers are shifting towards IISW ? Although I am participating in the organization of IISW, I do hope that the other conferences will get suffucient (good) submissions and will keep organizing dedicated imaging sessions. Because I think it is not good for our community to have everything concentrated at one single workshop that only takes place every other year and with a limited audience .... Also, IISW does not want to be another conference, it was, it is and it should remain a workshop !

  2. Albert, at ISSCC14 Sony, TSMC, STM, Samsung as well as "newcomer" Microsoft are represented. These can all be considered the big guys, and the technology presented is all quite advanced. In fact, I was surprised at the number/quality of the papers and am now considering attending ISSCC - a meeting I often skip due to cost.

    Of course having a great meeting at IISW probably has some effect for this year. The change in IEEE policy to disqualify work presented at IISW from consideration for ISSCC might also have backfired on IEEE. (Formerly we held back publication of IISW papers until after IEDM&ISSCC as part of an informal mutual courtesy agreement - until IEEE unilaterally changed their policy).

    I think the image sensor community will continue to be well-served by the IEDM and ISSCC as well as IISW. We have to expect ups and downs at the major conferences depending on the maturity level of technology. Surely you remember that there were nearly no papers and very low attendance at ISSCC in the early 90's when CCDs were quite mature. Then with the growth of CMOS image sensors there was a resurgence in papers at ISSCC in the later 90's and 00's. Overflowing the room was not uncommon. It has been 20 years since the invention of the modern CMOS image sensor and sooner or later we will have a new generation of devices and another explosion of papers. Meanwhile, look at ToF and SPAD papers. There sure are a lot even for a niche market!

    1. Eric, I do not consider the presentations of Sony and STMicroelectronics as regular contributions. These are forum talks, and the forum speakers are invited by the organizing committee. So that leaves us with 6 papers, but if you look into the program of ISSCC, you will see that the imaging session is only a half-session. Most papers are short papers of 15 min.

    2. BTW, also TSMC is an invited speaker at the forum.

  3. Those two universities showing up every year, and some even have two papers. Is it a good sign?


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