Friday, February 27, 2015

Cista and SMIC Start Mass Production of 0.13um-Process BSI Sensors

PR Newswire: Remember Cista, a mysterious image sensor startup founded by ex-Omnivision employees? SMIC and Cista System Corp. jointly announce a mass production start of two CIS-BSI products, of 1.3MP resolution with 1.75um pixel and 8MP resolution with 1.4um pixel, respectively. Both sensors are based on SMIC's 0.13um BSI process.

SMIC's 0.13um CIS-BSI technology is said to be independently developed and offers competitive performance. Based on a low leakage process, it only uses three aluminum metal layers for reduced cost and supports pixel sizes down to 1.4um for 8MP resolution CIS. SMIC also provides full in-house turn-key service which includes CIS wafer fabrication, color filter & micro-lens processing, TSV-CSP and testing to help customers shorten the supply chain with fast cycle time and low cost.

"Through working with our partner, Cista System Corp., we are very pleased with the achievement of the production phase for BSI technology," said Dr. Shiuh-Wuu Lee, EVP of Technology Development of SMIC. "Tests on the two sensors have shown great performance which demonstrates our readiness in 0.13-micron BSI technology platform. SMIC is also developing 1.1-micron pixel BSI for 13MP resolution and above, and 3D stacked BSI for high-end applications. With these new sets of products, we hope to provide high-quality CMOS Image Sensors to our customers at a competitive price."

"We are excited to partner with SMIC on launching the CIS-BSI sensors," said Wilson Du, CEO and President of Cista System Corp. "This partnership draws us one step closer to our goal of becoming more integrated with domestic industry resources in developing the image sensor sector. As we move forward, we hope to see more of our designs used in wider applications such as consumer electronics, telecommunications, medical equipment, automotive industry, automation and other applications."

So far, Cista web site only lists 1MP and 2MP products, with others, up to 13MP, are said to come soon. The 2MP C2580 and C2590 SoC specs look similar, and both sensors appear to be frontside-illuminated:

The 1MP C1680 has a similar block diagram and spec, but uses BSI technology:


  1. ... this business is brutal.

  2. The frame rate is low. With all the published knowledge, it is not difficult to make such kind of designs. It's interesting to see that the situation looks like the initial stage of CMOS sensor development: few big companies on CCD and a lot of startups to make low performance CMOS. But the time has changed, will they be able to emerge like OV? Their only leverage is price, is this still efficient now?

  3. It's better for OV to be sold to Chinese right now. Otherwise, it will be disintegrated by all these "spin-off".


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