Wednesday, July 28, 2021

Ams Releases NanEyeM Module

ams OSRAM has first announced NanEyeM camera module for single-use medical endoscopy almost 3 years ago. Over the past time, the company "made a few packaging changes to the module for improved robustness." Now ams fully releases NanEyeM to production. The small dimensions of 1.0 mm x 1.0 mm x 2.7 mm allow the module to be used in the smallest of areas.

Thanks to its space-saving size, the NanEyeM is made for use in areas of severe size restrictions, which includes single-use applications in bronchoscopy, urological endoscopy or endoscopic procedures in the kidney,” says Dina Aguiar, Marketing Manager at ams OSRAM. “The combination with the requisite high image quality makes the camera module a unique and attractive solution for the fast growing disposable endoscope market.

The module uses a so-called "chip on tip" approach. Here, the image sensor and the optics are placed at the tip of the device (distal end). This results in significantly better image quality than when the camera module is located at the other, proximal end. The NanEyeM offers a fully integrated imaging module with a wafer level multi-element optics. It was specifically designed for optimal performance at close range distances. The lens combines a wide FoV with an extended depth of field (EDOF), reducing distortions and delivering a sharp and accurate image. The camera has LVDS interface to transmit over long lengths of cable without loss of signal integrity. NanEyeM boasts a frame rate of up to 49 fps, while maintaining low power consumption. 

NanEyeM is the second generation of the NanEye2D from ams OSRAM. The camera module has been released to production and is available for ordering.

3D-Stacked SPAD Image Sensor

University of Edinburgh, University of Glasgow, and Heriot-Watt University publish a SPIE paper "High-speed vision with a 3D-stacked SPAD image sensor" by Istvan Gyongy, Germán Mora Martín, Alex Turpin, Alice Ruget, Abderrahim Halimi, Robert Henderson, and Jonathan Leach.

"We here consider an advanced direct ToF SPAD imager with a 3D-stacked structure, integrating significant photon processing. The device generates photon timing histograms in-pixel, resulting in a maximum throughput of 100's of giga photons per second. This advance enables 3D frames to be captured at rates in excess of 1000 frames per second, even under high ambient light levels. By exploiting the re-configurable nature of the sensor, higher resolution intensity (photon counting) data may be obtained in alternate frames, and depth upscaled accordingly. We present a compact SPAD camera based on the sensor, enabling high-speed object detection and classification in both indoor and outdoor environments. The results suggest a significant potential in applications requiring fast situational awareness."

Tuesday, July 27, 2021

ON Semi Announces 16MP Global Shutter Sensor for Machine Vision Applications

BusinessWire: ON Semiconductor expands its XGS series of CMOS sensors. The XGS 16000 is a 16MP global shutter sensor for factory automation applications including robotics and inspection systems. Consuming 1W at 65fps, the XGS 16000 is said to be one of the best in class for power consumption, among 29 x 29 mm sensors.

The XGS 16000 shares a common architecture and footprint with other XGS CMOS image sensors. This enables manufacturers to use a single camera design to develop products in different resolutions. 

The XGS 16000 is designed in a unique 1:1 square aspect ratio, which helps maximize the image capture area within the optical circle of the camera lens and ensure optimal light sensitivity. 

ON Semi offers color and mono versions of the XGS 16000 X-Cube and X-Celerator developer kits.

Sharp Image Sensor Lineup

2021 Sharp catalog reveals that its image sensor linup is still dominated by CCDs, although CMOS sensors section is expanding. Sharp CCDs are quite fast by CCD standards with 8MP one reaching 25fps frame rate:

Monday, July 26, 2021

e2v iToF Sensor Demos

Teledyne e2v publishes 3 video demos of its iToF Hydra3D sensor announced a year ago (1, 2, 3):

Photomultiplication in NIR Organic Diodes

Nature publishes a paper "Enhancing sub-bandgap external quantum efficiency by photomultiplication for narrowband organic near-infrared photodetectors" by Jonas Kublitski, Axel Fischer, Shen Xing, Lukasz Baisinger, Eva Bittrich, Donato Spoltore, Johannes Benduhn, Koen Vandewal, and Karl Leo from Technische Universität Dresden (Germany), Leibniz-Institut für Polymerforschung Dresden (Germany) and Hasselt University (Belgium).

"Photomultiplication-type organic photodetectors have been shown to achieve high quantum efficiencies mainly in the visible range. Much less research has been focused on realizing near-infrared narrowband devices. Here, we demonstrate fully vacuum-processed narrow- and broadband photomultiplication-type organic photodetectors. Devices are based on enhanced hole injection leading to a maximum external quantum efficiency of almost 2000% at −10 V for the broadband device. The photomultiplicative effect is also observed in the charge-transfer state absorption region. By making use of an optical cavity device architecture, we enhance the charge-transfer response and demonstrate a wavelength tunable narrowband photomultiplication-type organic photodetector with external quantum efficiencies superior to those of pin-devices. The presented concept can further improve the performance of photodetectors based on the absorption of charge-transfer states, which were so far limited by the low external quantum efficiency provided by these devices."

Friday, July 23, 2021

ST Presentation on Pixel-Level Stacking

ST presentation "Challenges and capabilities of 3D integration in CMOS imaging sensors" by Dominique Thomas, Jean Michailos, Krysten Rochereau, Joris Jourdon, and Sandrine Lhostis presents the company's achievements up to September 2019:

Thursday, July 22, 2021

A (Wrong) Attempt to Improve Imaging

University of Glasgow and University of Edinburgh publish a paper "Noise characteristics with CMOS sensor array scaling" by Claudio Accarino, Valerio F. Annese, Boon Chong Cheah, Mohammed A. Al-Rawhania, Yash D. Shaha, James Beeley, Christos Giagkoulovitis, Srinjoy Mitra, David R.S.Cumming. The paper compares SNR of a large single sensor with an array of smaller sensors having the same combined area. The conclusion looks fairly strange:

"In this paper we have compared the noise performance of a sensor system made using a single large sensor, versus the noise achieved when averaging the signal from an array of small independent sensors. Whilst the SNR of a smaller physical sensor is typically less than that of a single larger sensor, the properties of uncorrelated Gaussian noise are such that the overall performance of an array of small sensors is significantly better when the signal is averaged.

This elegant result suggests that there is merit in using sensor arrays, such as those that can be implemented in CMOS, even if the application only calls for a single measurement. Given the relatively low cost of CMOS and the wide availability of CMOS sensors, it is therefore beneficial to use arrays in any application where low noise or multiple parallel sensing are a priority."

More about Sony-TSMC Fab in Japan

NikkeiAsia, TaiwanNews: The planned TSMC fab in Kumamoto, on the island of Kyushu in western Japan, would go forward in two phases, according to Nikkei Asia. The board of TSMC is expected to decide on the investment in the current quarter. 

The plant is expected to start operation in 2023. Once both phases are complete, the new fab will produce about 40,000 wafers per month in 28nm process. The fab is expected to be mainly used to make image sensors for Sony, TSMC's largest Japanese customer. Nikkei has been told that TSMC is open to a collaboration that would give Sony more say in operating the plant and negotiating with the Japanese government.

ElectronicsWeekly presents another view on Sony-TSMC fab project: "Sony has a $7 billion+  revenue business in image sensors which makes the  $2.5 billion cost of such a fab a reasonable proposition."

Bloomberg reports that Japan intends to revive its domestic chip design and production industry and reverse the current downward R&D trend: