Sunday, November 30, 2014

Paul Lee Elevated to IEEE Fellow

Paul Lee, ex-Kodak engineer, now with Exelis Geospatial Systems, Amityville, NY, has been elevated to IEEE Fellow Members "for contributions to the development of CMOS image sensor technology and the pinned photo-diode active pixel sensor." US5625210 patent "Active pixel sensor integrated with a pinned photodiode" by Paul Lee, Robert Guidash, Teh-Hsuang Lee, and Eric Stevens is one of Kodak's classics, and, quite possibly, the most often referred image sensor patent.


  1. Congratulations to Paul on becoming an IEEE Fellow.

    But, the reference to this patent always makes me cringe. This invention was actually a joint invention between Tom Lee and myself (Kodak - JPL) - I remember when I traveled to Kodak with Russell Gee from JPL, as Tom and I stood at the white board and sketched this out. The patent was filed as a joint patent by JPL along with the other team members. However, Kodak secretly filed their own patent days before the 1995 IEEE Workshop on CCDs and Advanced Image Sensors and left off the JPL personnel. I don't blame the Kodak engineers - I believe it was Kodak management that did this. Anyway, the joint paper was presented a few days later at Dana Point as the first CMOS APS with PPD. Kodak would have gotten an exclusive license from JPL. Instead, they have a lame patent that would likely not stand up in any court due to misconduct, in my opinion.

    And, btw, it is definitely NOT the most referred (cited) image sensor patent, but certainly it is widely cited.

    Anyway, just to reiterate, congrats to Paul. I happened to see him for the first time in a long just a couple of weeks ago at the Univ. of Rochester.

  2. Short version: congratulations, but I'll leave lots of doubt whether or not I think you merit the recognition.

    1. Your short version is just sarcastic BS. If I left doubt in your anonymous mind about Paul meriting recognition for his hard work on making the PPD work in CMOS at low voltage, I am sorry. He and Russell Gee (JPL) did all the heavy lifting on implementing that first sensor, and they were the first two authors on that original paper. Paul continued to work on this technology well beyond the JPL/Kodak collaboration.

      My comments refer only to the referenced patent application.

  3. Congratulations Paul ! Welcome to the club.
    Now you can enjoy the rights and benefits of being IEEE Fellow, but I have to admit that I never ever could figure out what these rights and benefits are.

  4. I'm not a member of the Club..but as Grouch Marx said (paraphrasing)...I would not want to be a member of a club that would want me as a member.

  5. Eric, what were the main difficulties in the development of PPD please ? Since it has been used in CCD for quite a time, I guess that it would be "straight forward" ? Thanks !

    -yang ni

    1. hi Yang Ni, for sure everything looks straight forward 20 years later bu tin 1994 our confidence that a low voltage (5V) PPD would work satisfactorily was low. Of course once we proved it was possible, others followed soon after, most notably Toshiba. It always helps to know that something is possible.

      I think right now if you were going to make an 0.6V PPD, you would not feel it was straight forward, especially when trying to maintain FWC, no transfer barrier and no lag.

      From our recent PPD review paper (IEEE JEDS May 2014):

      "Implementing a pinned photodiode (PPD) with a CMOS
      APS was technically challenging since the CCD PPD required
      high transfer gate voltages to reduce any potential barriers and
      achieve complete charge transfer. Such high voltages (12-15 V)
      were not generally compatible with CMOS processes. Integrating
      the CCD PPD into a CMOS APS was first reported
      in 1995 from a JPL and Kodak collaboration in which Kodak
      developed a low voltage PPD implementation [33]. Further
      refinement [34–36] and widespread adoption of the PPD in
      CMOS image sensors occurred in the early 2000’s and helped
      CMOS APS achieve imaging performance on par with, or
      exceeding, CCDs."

    2. Thanks Eric ! Fully agreed with you, it's hard to do something at first !
      -yang ni

    3. I agree it's hard to do something at first.
      But I don't think PPD in CMOS sensor itself should be a patent because it is straight forward from CCD.
      New technology to achieve 0.6V PPD should be a patent.
      I don't see any kind of this new idea in that patent.

    4. Anonymous, everything looks straight forward 20+ years later. In fact, everything we do is straight forward from either a PN junction or MOS field-effect device. All we are doing is combining them in different ways. Anyway, your last 2 sentences made me have a good laugh for the end of the year. I guess everything is relative.

    5. Happy new year.
      If you notice it...
      Do you think LVDS output from CIS should be a patent if it was written before the first CIS with LVDS?
      Or how about BSI-CIS?
      I feel PPD in CIS is the same kind.

    6. 1. LVDS output...maybe, esp. if there was something special about it.
      2. BSI-CIS definitely - but not the concept, just the method of manufacturing or the design of pixels.


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