Wednesday, March 09, 2016

Samsung Announces its Own Dual Pixel AF Sensor

BusinessWire: Samsung announces its 12MP, 1.4um dual pixel sensor for smartphones, already in mass production. The dual pixel is said to enable rapid AF even in low light situations.

With 12 million pixels working as a phase detection auto-focus (PDAF) agent, the new image sensor brings professional auto-focusing performance to a mobile device,” said Ben K. Hur, VP Marketing, System LSI Business at Samsung. “Consumers will be able to capture their daily events and precious moments instantly on a smartphone as the moments unfold, regardless of lighting conditions.

The new image sensor employs two PDs located on the left and right halves of a pixel, while a conventional PDAF-equipped sensor dedicates less than 5% of its pixels, with one photodiode each that converts light particles into measurable photocurrent for phase detection. As each and every pixel of the Dual Pixel image sensor is capable of detecting phase differences of perceived light, significantly faster auto-focus has become possible, especially for moving objects even in poor lighting conditions.

The image sensor has also adopted Samsung’s ISOCELL technology, which isolates the photodiodes in each pixel with a physical wall to further reduce color cross talk, maximizing the image sensor’s performance.

The new image sensor is built with chip-stacking technology: a 65nm sensor on top of 28nm logic chip.


Meanwhile, GSMArena found an unscientific Youtube comparison of speeds of Galaxy S7 dual pixel AF and Canon EOS 70D DSLR dual pixel AF:


14 comments:

  1. it's funny to compare the AutoFocus of an APSc sensor to a 14x smaller 12MP 1.4 µm dual pixel 1/2.5 sensor which is... Sharp from your Feet to Infinite through a 10 mm Lens at F/5.6 !!! :)

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  2. With so many beautiful Korean women running around you'd think they could find a better model.

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    1. she's quite beautiful

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  3. The father is too busy working on the Dual Pixel sensor, ignoring the kid's diet.

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  4. Some claim that the sensor is a Samsung sensor and that Samsung also uses Sony's fab to meet the demand. anyone who knows??

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    1. I suspect you are right and Chipworks has misidentified the sensor as a Sony when in fact its a Samsung one.

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    2. Also meant to add that Chipworks made the identification from web articles and Sony on the ribbon connector so not exactly conclusive.

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    3. common practice fro samsung to dual source the camera. They did it with the galaxy s6 (my s6 has isocell sensor while friends have the imx240) and they are doing it with the S7. There are apps detecting the sensor. Some people claim having imx260 in the S7, some claim the isocell. So, you are wrong. Chipworks simply got the one with the imx260 sensor inside...

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  5. and please: not very nice to comment on someone else's appearance regarding diet etc

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  6. there is no reason to label it as imx260 for fabricating though.samsung probably goes to sony and say what they want sony create it ,then licensed to fabricate for samsung.maybe sony could hire a team to work with them.when you pay 1 billion per year anything can happen...
    lg,iphone and samsung's sony sensors dont used by another firms.

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  7. We can confirm that the stacked 12 MP camera chip from the Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge (Model SM-G935T) purchased in the US is sourced from Sony. This conclusion is based on our analysis results. The blog update we posted on March 8 related to the identification of the technology platform Sony used for fabrication. At first blush, these new chips appeared to be conventional Sony back-illuminated (Exmor R) sensors. As described in the blog update we now know Sony introduced a significant evolution to its chip-to-chip interconnect scheme. We’ve described these chips as 3rd generation Exmor RS. Anyway, the S7 12 MP camera chips we’ve seen to date are confirmed to be fabricated by Sony.

    We’ve also heard the news that Samsung dual-sourced the S7 camera chips from its own group and from Sony (a strategy we also documented for the Galaxy S6). After our Galaxy S7 teardown Samsung announced its ISOCELL chip with a comparable specification (stacked CIS, full chip PDAF, 12 MP resolution, 1.4 µm pixel pitch). We’re currently tearing down phones from other regions and continue to document the different design wins for our clients. If and when we find an ISOCELL variant in an S7 camera we’ll update our blog accordingly (please register for updates, if interested).

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    1. Aren't those trenches between each pixel ISOCELL? Is Sony now using this?

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    2. Tim, again, it is a Sony sensor! Sony uses DTI at least since the iPhone 6S. It was posted in this blog sometime ago but can't find it now...

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    3. Hi Tim,
      I don’t think I currently have a trends presentation in the public domain that shows this, but yes, Sony has been using back deep trench isolation (B-DTI). You can see another image in the landing page for our Sony IMX278 report (http://www.chipworks.com/competitive-technical-intelligence/overview/technology-reports/recent-reports/sony-imx278-cmos-image). If you click through the ‘more information’ link you can find a SEM cross-section image on page 2 of the .pdf. Please feel free to contact me directly at rfontaine@chipworks.com.

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