Saturday, September 25, 2021

STA Founder Dick Bredthauer Passed Away

As posted in CCD-World mailing list, Semiconductor Technology Associates, Inc. founder Dick Bredthauer passed away.

Dr. Richard Bredthauer was involved in the design and fabrication of a large variety of scientific imaging CCDs from 1975 to 2016. He managed CCD development at Lockheed Martin, Loral, Ford Aerospace, and Rockwell.  He designed the original 9k x 9k imager while at Lockheed Martin, and his CCDs included notable instruments such as Hubble’s WFPC2, all of the visible imagers on Cassini, the stereo camera in Mars Pathfinder, and most recently the lightning imager for GOES-R. In 2016, his son Dr. Greg Bredthauer became president of STA and took over daily operations.

Friday, September 24, 2021

Open Letter from Albert Theuwissen


Dear all,

Yesterday (Thursday 23/09/2021) the International Image Sensor Workshop 2021 came to an end. Immediately after the workshop closure we had a meeting with the Board of Directors of the International Image Sensor Society. In that meeting Eric Fossum, Nobukazu Teranishi and Albert Theuwissen (the three co-founders of IISS) announced their retirement from the Board. The retired members will set up a Government Advisory Committee (without any voting rights anymore), but they will be no longer directly involved in the organization of the IISW.

If I speak for myself : it was a great honour and even a greater pleasure for me to work for and to work with Eric, Nobu and all other Board members. This is a group of people that constantly tries to bring the imaging community to a higher level. Imaging has given and still gives me a lot of joy, motivation, strength in my professional live and last but not least also in my private life it brought us a nice piece of bread on our table. So for me it was very normal to give something back to our imaging community by means of my activities in IISS.

Over the years I learned a lot from my involvement in IISS, about how to work with various cultures, how to work with world-level top-experts in the field and how to work with individuals that all have a strong character (otherwise they would not have climbed up to the level where they now are). And very often the cooperation with my Board colleagues put myself in front of the mirror which led to some self-reflection.

I wish IISS and all Board members all the best in the coming future. It is now up to the next generation to manage IISS and I am more than confident that the next generation will succeed. But if needed, they always can count on me for advice.

Best regards from Belgium.

Albert, former president of IISS.


IDQ Photon Sensors - from Mobile Phones to Space Launchers

Física Exactas UBA publishes a presentation "Quantum technologies for mobile phones and space launchers" by Félix Bussières ID Quantique SA, Switzerland:

Galaxycore Evaluates its 32MP Sensor Engineering Samples

DailyEconomicNews: In line with its intentions to penetrate mid- to high-end CIS market, Galaxycore announces at the investor interactive platform on September 24: "Dear investors, hello. The company's high-end pixel research and development is progressing smoothly, and the CMOS image sensor with 32 million pixels and above has entered the stage of internal evaluation of engineering samples. Thank you for your attention!"

Smartsens Announces Three BSI Global Shutter Sensors

CoreIntelligenceSmartSens launches three new SmartGS-2 series image sensors-SC350HGS / SC650HGS / SC950HGS with 3MP to 9MP resolutions aimed to industrial cameras for intelligent applications. the QE of the three products reaches 90% at 520nm.

Samples of the three sensors are available now, and mass production is expected to start in Q4 2021.

Thursday, September 23, 2021

Excess Noise Reduction in APDs

IEEE Journal of Selected Topics in Quantum Electronics publishes a paper "Evolution of Low-Noise Avalanche Photodetectors" by Joe C. Campbell from University of Virginia.

"This paper reviews materials and structural approaches that have been developed to reduce the excess noise in avalanche photodiodes and increase the gain-bandwidth product."

"It has been shown for a wide range of materials including InP, GaAs, In1-xAlxAs, Si, AlxGa1-xAs, SiC, GaP, and GaInP that reducing the thickness of the multiplication layer, usually to submicron dimensions, results in lower excess noise. This is contrary to expectations based on the local-field model and points to its inadequacy when the non-local nature of impact ionization becomes significant."

Assorted Videos: Trinamix, Vision Research, Immervision, Teledyne-e2v, Cepton

Trinamix expands its multispectral 3D imaging applications with smartphone behind OLED face recognition and driver monitoring:

Vision Research promotes its fast BSI sensors:

Immervision publishes its SPIE Optical Systems Design International Symposium presentation on freeform lenses in consumer applications:

Teledyne-e2v promotes its linescan sensors:

Autosens publishes interviews with Cepton:

Wednesday, September 22, 2021

SPADs in Globalfoundries' 55nm BCD Process

It appears that Globalfoundries becomes a viable option for SPAD-based sensors. At least, three Globalfoundries' employees are co-authors of the following paper:

IEEE Journal of Selected Topics in Quantum Electronics publishes a paper "Engineering Breakdown Probability Profile for PDP and DCR Optimization in a SPAD Fabricated in a Standard 55nm BCD Process" by Francesco Gramuglia, Pouyan Keshavarzian, Ekin Kizilkan, Claudio Bruschini, Shyue Seng Tan, Michelle Tng, Elgin Quek, Myung-Jae Lee, and Edoardo Charbon from EPFL (Switzerland), Globalfoundries (Singapore), KIST (Korea).

"In this paper, we present SPADs based on DPW/BNW junctions in a standard Bipolar-CMOS-DMOS (BCD) technology with results comparable to the state-of-the-art in terms of sensitivity and noise in a deep sub-micron process. Technology CAD (TCAD) simulations along with analytical modelling are used to iterate through two versions of the proposed SPAD for improved detection efficiency. The result is an 8.8 um diameter SPAD exhibiting 1.2 cps/um2 DCR at 20C with 7 V excess bias. The improved structure obtains a PDP of 62 % and 4.2% at 530 nm and 940 nm, respectively. Afterpulsing probability is < 1 % and the timing response is 106 ps FWHM when measured with passive quench/recharge using external components."

PAM4 in Image Sensor-based Communication

PAM4 signalling has been adopted in many recent high speed interfaces, such as PCIe 6.0, MIPI A-PHY, Auto-Serdes, and many others. In the following OSA paper, PAM4 is being proposed for image sensor based communication:

"PAM4 rolling-shutter demodulation using a pixel-per-symbol labeling neural network for optical camera communications" by Yun-Shen Lin, Chi-Wai Chow, Yang Liu, Yun-Han Chang, Kun-Hsien Lin, Yi-Chang Wang, and Yi-Yuan Chen from National Yang Ming Chiao Tung University, National Chiao Tung University, and Industrial Technology Research Institute, Taiwan, with Philips Hong Kong.

"The typical optical camera communication (OCC) modulation scheme is based on binary intensity modulation. To increase the transmission data rate, multi-level modulation format is highly desirable. In this work, we bring forward and demonstrate a rolling shutter 4-level pulse amplitude modulation (PAM4) demodulation scheme for OCC systems using pixel-per-symbol labeling neural network (PPSL-NN) for the first time up to the authors’ knowledge. A bit-rate distance product of 28.8 kbit/s • m per color is achieved. The proposed scheme is to calculate and re-sample the pixel-per-symbol (PPS) to make sure the same number of pixels in each PAM4 symbol is corresponding to a label for the neural network. Experiment results reveal that the proposed scheme can efficiently demodulate high speed PAM4 signal in the rolling shutter OCC pattern."

Tuesday, September 21, 2021

New Imaging Technologies Video

New Imaging Technologies (NIT) presents its SWIR and HDR sensors in this video:

Recently, NIT has been awarded with a large funding program by the French Government for improving and industrializing its in-house hybridization technology, paving the way to very small infrared sensor pitch. The so called NH technology allows to perform a 3D stack of a read out circuit with a photodiode array without using the traditional Indium bump bonding technique. The NH yield is extremely high and with this investment program it is expected to reach pixel pitch of less than 5um.

Galaxycore CEO on Growth of China Semiconductor Industry

PerceptionCoreVision publishes a transcript of Galaxycore CEO Zhao Lixin (Stanly Zhao) talk at the 2nd Shanghai Free Trade Zone Lingang New Area Semiconductor Industry Development Forum held on September 15, 2021. Few quotes:

"China has a lot to do in the development of image sensors. From the perspective of sales volume, Galaxycore plus Omnivision's CIS shipments account for more than 50% of the world; from the perspective of value, Gekewei’s 1 billion plus Howe 2 billion, accounting for about 16% of the global 20 billion CIS market.

I often proudly say that our Galaxycore is good. Why is Galaxycore good? We, Galaxycore, were the largest domestic customer of SMIC, the largest foundry in China in 2007. During the financial crisis in 2008, we placed an order of 100,000 8-inch wafers for SMIC. Of course, we were surpassed by HiSilicon, because HiSilicon was too powerful.

Before that, Galxycore has been the top four customers of SMIC, and we are also the major customers of packaging factories such as Changjiang Electronics, Jingfang and Huatian. Therefore, only after you have a large scale can you promote the national economy and support the development of this industry. Therefore, I put a lot of emphasis on the shipment volume of a wafer, the Internet emphasizes traffic, and semiconductor companies must emphasize the use of silicon wafers. Galaxycore currently ranks among the top three in terms of silicon wafer usage in China.

The second is to focus on high-end, because only ICs on high-end brand mobile phones have sufficient scale and profits. Without profit, there is no way to do high-end R&D. Therefore, to drive the development of the entire industry chain in China, there must be sufficient profits. Just like a company like Huawei, its high-end mobile phone camera supports three world-renowned companies, Sony, Largan and Sunny. So it can feed so many people with a single chip. But if you can't do high-end, it is unlikely to be profitable.

The development of China's semiconductor industry still requires the use of mobile phones to drive our chip design companies. Design companies drive Foundry factories, packaging factories, and then equipment manufacturers and material manufacturers.

Why can Galaxycore do well? Because Galaxycore is unique in process research and development. Therefore, in order to speed up the research and development of high-end products, we must build our own factories to do the research and development of special processes. Now Lingang is a very good place, so we invested 2.2 billion US dollars in Lingang to build a world's most advanced characteristic process line.

Based on this sales data of Galaxycore, I will tell you about our development history. You can see that from 2006 to 2007, it was the research and development period. In 2008, a large number of shipments were made. In 2009, despite the financial crisis, our business doubled.

In 2014, we made about 340 million U.S. dollars. At this time, we were stuck overseas because we couldn't make BSI crafts. Because the neck of BSI was stuck, we couldn't make high-end products. Then we will cooperate with Samsung around 2016 and 2017 to make our BSI products. At this time, the company's performance is developing by leaps and bounds. Last year we approached 1 billion US dollars.

When there is a breakthrough in research and development, this performance is relatively easy to grow rapidly, and the shipment volume is also amazing. We have achieved shipments of nearly 2.4 billion units. With this scale, we will be able to do more high-end designs later."