Image Sensors Americas 2014 web site publishes an interview with Terry Gilton, Aptina VP of Advanced Technology. Few quotes:
Q: What are the major growth areas in the image sensor business in 2014/5?
A: Along with general market growth in the volume segments, there is a trend towards physically larger sensors to improve all around performance. While the pixel-count war is not dead, the top mobile OEMS have seen the light. Smaller pixels matter, but are being seen as enablers for unique features rather than just a way to use more power and memory, while larger pixels are getting the credit they deserve for image quality.
Q: Which advanced technologies do you think will have the greatest impact on the supply chain in the coming years?
A: Stacking of pure pixel arrays onto ASICS is going to be a very important change to the supply chain. Packaging of image sensors into camera modules is in an innovation phase now. Things like curved sensors will have an interesting impact on optical design, and could enable some changes in the module that will allow new technologies to flourish. Multi-chip solutions are going to become more popular, and advances in heat management are going to drive camera performance.
With pixel shrinks and the demand for greater performance, I believe that pixel level optics (color filters, micro lenses and pixel-scale light path engineering) is changing quickly. It used to be just spinning on some organics, but it is now much more complex and essential to the sensor's overall performance.