Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Chipworks Overviews Small Pixel Presentations at IISW 2011

Chipworks' analyst Ray Fontaine published his impressions from small pixel presentations at IISW 2011. Actually, one of the most interesting presentations came from Ray himself and talked about 1.4um pixel reverse engineering revelations. The presentation and the paper are kindly made accessible on-line by Chipworks. The most impressive part for me was ST managing to fit color filters in cavities etched between the pixel metals (in mass production):

Another impressive job by ST is deep trench isolation between the pixels, while maintaining 50e-/s dark current at 60C (mass produced too, found in RIM handsets and tablets):

Many other interesting reverse engineering pictures are inside - highly recommended.

Thanks to RF for sending me the link!


  1. Fitting the color filters between the metals is really impressive.

    The filters seem to be at least 1.1um high, quite a bit more than the usual. This is puzzling.

    Usually there is a trade-off, a slight increase in CF height would reduce color crosstalk (optical and also via the reduced spectral overlap) but decrease the quantum efficiency somewhat.

    Placing the CFs so deep must be very good for color crosstalk. So why make them thick?


  2. More excellent work from Ray and his team. Well done.


  3. I find the previous comment ironic and, frankly, somewhat perverted - the praise goes not to the designer who conceived and implemented the thing, but rather to the guy who ripped the design apart and photographed it (it is not an easy thing to do, but, still).

  4. There is no "rather". This post is about Ray's blog and his report. I thought's Ray's blog entry was quite complimentary to the conference organizers and attendees. His report, which probably is the result of a team effort, is also well-done. While some may be chagrined at finding their designs open-kimono-ed, it is the price of selling parts. These are not trade secrets, by definition. The trade secrets are in the why and how.

    What exactly is perverted about complimenting engineers doing a good job?

    If the companies let the all designers and process architects "sign" their work it would be easy to compliment them as well. Maybe Marx was right about dangers of alienating the worker from the product.

  5. Interesting comments in his published impressions about OV, too


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