Monday, March 02, 2015

Omnivision Shrinks Pixel to 1um

PR Newswire: OmniVision announces the OV16880, a 16MP sensor built on OmniVision's PureCel-S stacked die technology. The 1/3-inch OV16880 introduces a new 1um (!) pixel technology, as well as advanced features such as phase detection autofocus (PDAF).

"Industry observers expect the 1/3-inch image sensor market for 13-megapixel to 16-megapixel resolution segments to double within the next two years, driven mostly by the proliferation of higher resolution mainstream smartphones and tablets," said Kalai Chinnaveerappan, senior product marketing manager at OmniVision. "The OV16880 is the industry's first 1/3-inch 16-megapixel image sensor, putting it in the forefront of this high-growth market segment. The sensor enables slim devices to transition from a 13-megapixel to 16-megapixel camera while maintaining excellent image quality and pixel performance."

The OV16880 PureCel-S stacked die pixel array features buried color filter array (BCFA) technology, which reduces pixel crosstalk and improves SNR. The OV16880 captures 16MP images at 30fps, allowing burst photography and zero shutter lag at full resolution. Additionally, the sensor is capable of capturing 4K video at 30fps, 1080p video at 90fps, and 720p video at 120fps. The OV16880 also supports interlaced high dynamic range (iHDR) timing functionality. The sensor fits into a 8.5 mm x 8.5 mm module with a z-height of less than 5 mm.

The sensor is currently available for sampling, and is expected to enter volume production in Q3 2015.

Update: TSMC Q1 2015 earnings call transcript hints that the sensor is manufactured by TSMC: "We have developed the world's first 1.0-micron pixel size 16-megapixel CMOS image sensor, with stacked image signal processor, which was announced in March by our customer for the next-generation smartphone."

11 comments:

  1. It's will be interesting to front facing camera For selfie!!!

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  2. Pixel length below 2*wavelength; nice grating. Someone one day will have to explain me how this is possible. It sounds to me as amazing as Planck's time.

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    1. Give or take a few structures on the backside, the photons don't know the pixel size. Looks pretty much like flat silicon. It is where the photoelectrons are funneled that counts for pixel pitch. The funnel process is pretty much independent of the absorption process.

      Not exactly true because there are structures on the front side, and some EM waves penetrate to the periodic structures such as metallization on the front surface and could be impacted by the periodicity.

      I am quite confident that 500nm and smaller pixels (or jots) can be realized with BSI.

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    2. But the photons usually pass through color filters and these have a pattern too. Iven with 1.12 um I am wondering how colors can be kept from mixing.

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    3. It it the wavelength in silicon that is critical; and this is ~1/4 of that in free space. so it is not that amazing

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    4. I remember being told by someone at Polaroid 28 years ago +/- that 1um pixels would be impossible to realize and it was dumb to think about such small devices. At the time I was thinking about III-V device CCDs with tiny pixel pitches. I actually believed this for some time and stopped working on that project. Since then, I don't believe everything I hear from people about something being a dumb idea.

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    5. I was thinking about the grating caused by the microlens array

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    6. I think the microlens array is a potential issue at small pixel pitches. But, I don't think the grating effect is severe as you suggest. Otherwise I think we would have already seen problems with red response. I haven't seen any modelling of that but for sure someone reading this blog has done those optical EM simulations. Perhaps they can comment.

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  3. They said a long time ago that they were already working on their 0.9u pixel and now they announce only 1.0u? so, what were the challenges that still face in coming out with the promised 0.9u pixel

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  4. We can ask Sony the same question ...

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  5. With only 1um, how it will survive to absorb in low light scene?
    IMO, I like the trends moving to higher fps than higher pixel count. This is cool when everyone could filming everything in slo-mo.

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