Tuesday, August 31, 2021

Lynred Integrates ISP onto Microbolometric Sensor

ALANews: Lynred unveils the ATI320, its first advanced thermal imager with embedded image signal processing. The product’s embedded features, with a lens available as an option, aim at saving camera makers time and effort in integrating thermal imaging during the development and manufacturing process, enabling them to speed products to market.

ATI320 simplifies the calibration process during camera assembly, relieving manufacturers from performing complex steps. A key motivation underpinning the product’s advanced design is in eliminating tricky integration steps, in order to extend access to infrared technology for newer thermal image market entrants.

 “ATI320 marks a milestone in Lynred’s strategic development towards bringing more ambitious and innovative value-added propositions to key markets,” said Jean-Yves Dussaud, CMO at Lynred. ”This Advanced Thermal Imager is the culmination of our teams’ latest know-how and dexterity in developing image processing solutions, electronics and software for our microbolometer technology, in which we have a 20-year legacy.

ATI320 (16x16mm) is the most compact QVGA (320×240 pixels) resolution thermal imager available and comes with ruggedized housing. It is available in two models: ATI320L (with lens) and ATI320S (without lens).

The key spec:
  • Resolution: 320×240; 12µm pixel pitch
  • NETD (Noise Equivalent Temperature Difference): f/1, 300 K scene, 20°C ambient for ATI320S version: <60mK
  • Scene dynamic >100°C
  • Operating T°C range: -40°C; +85°C
  • Full digital product with power consumption <400mW, when an image signal processing is fully activated
  • Frame rate: 60Hz
  • Standards compliance: Mil-Std-810/883
  • Weight: <3g for ATI320S version; <7g for ATI320L version

Galaxycore History

EastMoney, MooreElite, Laoyaoba publish a glorified history of Galaxycore from early days to IPO. Few quotes:

"I personally think that Galaxycore is a very lucky company." [CEO] Zhao Lixin attributed the primary factor of Galaxycore's success to luck.

In business before, Zhao Lixin just an ordinary back from the US technology engineer, has worked in Chartered Semiconductor, the United States ESS company, UT StarcomEngage in related work. In 2003, with the initial investment of 2 million US dollars from high school students and his own patents in the field of high-end image sensors, Zhao Lixin returned to China and founded Galaxycore.

In the early days, Zhao Lixin planned the development of Galaxycore as follows: first make the process, then do the technology well, and then make the product. To achieve the market from the source of technology, this is not in line with business logic. Zhao Lixin also admitted, "It was a bit crazy at the time, Don Quixote style." Such an idea was destined to fail to produce results in the market environment at the time.

When Galaxycore started, it was just when SMIC wanted to make an image sensor. The two sides hit it off. Galaxycore helped SMIC establish the CIS production process line, and SMIC was responsible for its R&D expenses. When colleagues complained about "burning money", Galaxycore survived unbelievably, "If we had paid for it, we would have burned to death."

Galaxycore's fortune continued, “When we started selling products, the market was out of stock.” In early 2005, many of its peers had no time to take into account the relatively small PC market at that time and focused on the high-end mobile phone market. "Although the technical content of the PC market is not high, this is the starting point for Galaxycore to survive." Zhao Lixin said.

After seizing this unattended market gap, Galaxycore sold 16 million chips in 2005, with sales reaching 5 million U.S. dollars and achieving profitability. This kind of performance was rare in the industry at that time, which also helped Galaxycore to successfully obtain the investment from Walden International and Sequoia Capital.

With a firm foothold in the low-end chip market, Galaxycore has further exerted its cost advantages, “wherever it goes, no grass will grow.” By 2014, Galaxycore's CMOS Image Sensor IC shipments exceeded 940 million.

Zhao Lixin has always emphasized that an enterprise cannot go far without the core technology of its own creation. At present, Galaxycore has completely independent intellectual property rights in the design and algorithms of CMOS image sensors and multimedia processors, as well as the world's leading and most competitive manufacturing process technology. It has obtained a number of US patents on the structure and process of CMOS image sensors, nearly 200 domestic invention and utility model patents, and more than 260 Chinese patents on the structure of CMOS image sensors are under review.

Zhao Lixin proudly mentioned that Galaxycore has at least about ten patents, which are very basic and breakthrough innovations in this field.

In recent years, Galaxycore has developed an innovative packaging patent for Chip On Module (COM), and has spent five or six years developing special equipment for this purpose. This breakthrough invention played a vital role in the company's future development and also brought considerable profits to the company.

Zhao Lixin introduced Galaxycore's technical advantages: the number of lithography layers is 20% less than that of the competition, and the die size is 30% less than that of the competition. These two advantages are superimposed on each other, and the cost advantage is huge.

Under fierce competition, Galaxycore hopes to promote a differentiated strategy. In the low-end products, Galaxycore will stick to its position in the mobile phone market; in the high-end products, it will cooperate with IDM giants in the CMOS image sensor industry to meet the needs of the Chinese market.

Not only competing with IDM, but also cooperating with IDM, Zhao Lixin emphasized: We must dance with wolves and live with them.

Landing in the capital market brings new opportunities for Zhao Lixin. According to the prospectus, Galaxycore plans to raise 6.96 billion yuan in this initial public offering, of which 6.376 billion yuan will be used for 12-inch CIS integrated circuit characteristic process research and development and industrialization projects, and 584 million yuan will be used for CMOS image sensor research and development. project. "After going public, we will transform to the Fab-Lite model." Zhao Lixin said that in the future, the company will expand its own production capacity by building part of its production lines, and enhance the company's high-end products. Research and development capabilities and speed of research and development.

"Galaxycore's goal is to let the world see China's innovation." Zhao Lixin said, "We have been on this road for 18 years, and there will be more 18 years waiting for us to move forward."

Monday, August 30, 2021

GPixel Unveils 4/3-inch 10MP 2,000fps Global Shutter Sensor

Gpixel announces a high-speed global shutter sensor, GSPRINT4510, a new member of GSPRINT series targeting high speed applications.

GSPRINT4510 is a 10MP 4/3” (22.9mm) sensor based on 4.5 µm charge domain global shutter pixel. It has more than 30 ke- full well and less than 3 e- rms read noise. Using an advanced 65 nm CIS process with light pipe technology, the sensor achieves >65% QE and more than 1/40,000 shutter efficiency. With on-chip charge binning, full well capacity can be further increased and frame rate is almost quadrupled.

GSPRINT4510 will be offered in two variants to support in the most optimal way different end-use use cases. One version is dedicated to 3D laser profiling and supports 144 pairs sub-LVDS channels running at 1.2Gbps each, which delivers 2000 fps in 8-bit operation at 2048 rows and >3500 fps with an ROI of 1024 rows in combination with several HDR modes. Incorporating a thinner glass lid to reduce stray light reflection, the option to have no micro lenses, and either a sealed or removable glass lid makes GSPRINT4510 a good solution for 3D laser scanning applications.

For other applications including high-speed industrial inspection, life science imaging and 4K video applications, the sensor is offered in monochrome, color and achieve up to 500 fps @ 12-bit, 1008 fps @ 10-bit and 1928 fps @ 8-bit with full resolution. On-chip 2×2 charge binning can boost frame rates more than x3 with a full well charge increase to 120 ke-. Flexible output channel multiplex modes make it possible to reduce frame and data rate to make it compatible with all available camera interface options. This version of the sensor incorporates micro lenses and a sealed glass lid making GSPRINT4510 a good choice for many applications such as 4/3”(MFT) format global shutter cameras in slow motion capture or drone-mounted videography.

Both versions of GSPRINT4510 are packaged in a 454-pin uPGA ceramic package which is pin-compatible with GSPRINT4521. GSPRINT4510 monochrome engineering samples can be ordered today for delivery in October 2021.

Sunday, August 29, 2021

Hamamatsu Presents Position-Detecting Computational Sensor

Hamamatsu Photonics has developed a new profile sensor with an embedded computing function. This sensor, S15366, is specifically designed to calculate signals from the incident light spot within its processing chip and output incident light position information. Since this new profile sensor can output the incident light positions as coordinate data, it needs no external controller for computing processing.

Sales of this new profile sensor are scheduled to start from September 1, 2021 mainly for manufacturers of surveying equipment and factory automation equipment.

Saturday, August 28, 2021

New Kasalis Active Alignment Machine Features 5nm Resolution

BusinessWireKasalis, an active alignment company founded in 2011 acquired by Jabil in 2015, re-launches its brand and website. "Today, we are excited to announce a new brand direction from Jabil Kasalis to simply Kasalis. We believe shifting to our established and independent brand identity will better demonstrate our distinctive value in the market." Although Kasalis remains a technology division of Jabil Inc., it appears that Jabil prepares to sell it or spin it off.

Kasalis shares the entrepreneurial approach of a startup within a global technology and manufacturing leader, Jabil,” said Mark Kozak, director of engineering at Kasalis.

Kasalis is constantly innovating and reinventing new ways to share why our experience and knowledge makes us the only choice when absolute optical manufacturing precision is required,” said Justin Roe, co-founder and president of Kasalis. “Our brand identity recognizes that Kasalis welcomes business from customers large and small; from those who require Kasalis’ particular expertise as well as those who rely upon multiple Jabil services.

Kasalis Pixd 700 alignment machine achieves a remarkable mechanical resolution of 5nm, similar or better than EUV photolithography. I've never thought that such a resolution is needed for optical modules.

Friday, August 27, 2021

Hamamatsu Explains its Photon-Resolving Sensor to Uninitiated

Hamamatsu publishes a popular explanation of its photon number resolving Quest camera advantages:

SWIR Quantum Dot PDs Has 80% QE and 10ns Response Time, but High Dark Current

Matter publishes EPFL and Toronto University paper "Colloidal quantum dot photodetectors with 10-ns response time and 80% quantum efficiency at 1,550 nm" by Maral Vafaie, James Z.Fan, Amin Morteza Najarian, Olivier Ouellette, Laxmi Kishore Sagar, Koen Bertens, Bin Sun, F. Pelayo García de Arquer, Edward H.Sargent.

"To date, CQD photodetectors operating in the short-wave IR have failed to provide the combination of high responsivity, detectivity, and fast temporal response. To advance this field, large-diameter CQDs are needed that combine passivation with efficient charge transport.

Here, we present an efficient ligand-exchange strategy tailored to large CQDs having a band gap of 0.8 eV. The new well-passivated stable colloidal quantum dots enable high-quality CQD photoactive layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties. As a result, short-wavelength IR photodetectors operating at 1,550 nm with a record external quantum efficiency, reasonable detectivity, and fast response time are demonstrated."

Thursday, August 26, 2021

Quantum Dot Progress Review

Science publishes a review paper "Semiconductor quantum dots: Technological progress and future challenges" by F. Pelayo García de Arquer, Dmitri V. Talapin, Victor I. Klimov, Yasuhiko Arakawa, Manfred Bayer, Edward H. Sargent from University of Toronto (Canada), Barcelona Institute of Science and Technology (Spain), University of Chicago (USA), Los Alamos National Laboratory (USA), University of Tokyo (Japan), and Technische Universitat Dortmund (Germany.)

Sony Automotive Sensors Development Began as an Application for Security Image Sensor, but Automotive Requirements Turned to be Unprecedentedly Stringent

Sony publishes an interview with its automotive image sensor designers explaining why the company is still having difficulties on this market. Few quotes:

Automotive settings present harsh conditions to overcome, such as high temperature, humidity, and vibration, while high quality must be ensured. This meant that the design, manufacturing, and quality assurance divisions had their own unique challenges to address and conquer.

J.Azami: In the beginning, the project started to develop automotive image sensors modelled on security image sensors. The basic idea was that the security sensors had the attributes that were useful for automotive sensors, such as extensive durability and the ability to capture images in dark places. However, once the business became established, we found out that the automotive image sensors had a whole set of different requirements. Those days, I would visit customers overseas and come back feeling deflated at their feedback, time and again.

Y. Sakano: I have always been interested in HDR, and Azami-san’s invitation was all welcome. But there was a problem. Image sensors for automotive cameras require very high quality standards, and initial defect rate had to be extremely low. Normally, other image sensors are improved iteratively through a course of repeated production cycles. Whereas, automotive image sensors must be manufactured by mature processes, and this was an unwritten rule.

M. Nishizuka: The standards like IATF 16949 and ISO 26262 are clear enough themselves, but it was very difficult to adapt our work processes to them. To probe and understand each standard was difficult in itself, but it was even more challenging to align our project members to this understanding. It was necessary that every member understood and implemented the ways of doing things that were unfamiliar to us.

T. Shimozono: The requirements set out in those standards like IATF 16949 and ISO 26262 were very specific, different from ones we normally handled. We needed to find out the ways to apply them in manufacturing in practice. Another particularity of automotive applications is that so many customer inspections were involved. How we interpreted the standards often turned out to be unsatisfactory to our customers, who gave us feedback with their specific requests, as well. It was such hard work to meet all these requirements and requests.

M. Nishizuka: The dashboard can heat up over 100°C in summer time. So, the sensor must be able to withstand these temperatures. Secondly, driving on a road causes vibration. It takes extremely high levels of engineering to make precision devices that withstand vibration and operate without making errors.
Also, as Sakano-san mentioned it earlier, there is the zero-defects expectation, that is, to minimize the initial defect. The request was below 1 ppm, which means fewer than one defective unit in every one million produced. In order to meet the requirements of both high performance and reliability, we had to set up the product evaluation environment as strict as never before.

Wednesday, August 25, 2021

Ex-Tower Fellow Assaf Lahav Joins GPixel

Gpixel announces that ex-Tower Semiconductor Fellow Assaf Lahav joined its executive management team to become Gpixel’s VP of Pixel and Advanced Technology. He brings more than 20 years of experience in pixel development and CIS technology.

Xinyang Wang, Chairman, Founder and CEO of Gpixel group explains: “We are very excited to have Dr. Lahav joining our executive team. I have been working with Dr. Lahav since 2012 when Gpixel was started. Over the years, Dr. Lahav helped us make excellent global shutter pixels and undoubtfully through his previous role contributed already greatly to our success today. Going forward, it is a great pleasure and honor to have him as one of the Gpixel team members to further extend our pixel and technology portfolio by leveraging his world class technical leadership and expertise.

Assaf Lahav adds: “It is a pleasure starting my new journey with such an amazing team. Over the years I watched  Gpixel grow from 3 engineers to more than 200 people working from 4 offices worldwide. Product after product,Gpixel changed the specialized CIS landscape drastically, ever pushing the limits of the current state of-the-art. I hope my future contribution will help the Gpixel engineering team to become even stronger than today and feel truly privileged to be given the opportunity to guide this company into the next chapters of its exciting journey.

University of Colorado Boulder Achieves ToF Sensing with 26um Depth Accuracy

CU Boulder publishes an OSA Optica paper "Time-magnified photon counting with 550-fs resolution" by Bowen Li, Jan Bartos, Yijun Xie, and Shu-Wei Huang.

"Time-correlated single-photon counting (TCSPC) is an enabling technology for applications such as low-light fluorescence lifetime microscopy and photon counting time-of-flight (ToF) 3D imaging. However, state-of-the-art TCSPC single-photon timing resolution (SPTR) is limited to 3–100 ps by single-photon detectors. Here, we experimentally demonstrate a time-magnified TCSPC (TM-TCSPC) that achieves an ultrashort SPTR of 550 fs with an off-the-shelf single-photon detector. The TM-TCSPC can resolve ultrashort pulses with a 130-fs pulse width difference at a 22-fs accuracy. When applied to photon counting ToF 3D imaging, the TM-TCSPC greatly suppresses the range walk error that limits all photon counting ToF 3D imaging systems by 99.2% and thus provides high depth accuracy and precision of 26 µm and 3 µm, respectively."

Ouster CEO Believes that Only 3 to 5 LiDAR Companies Remain in 5 Years from Now

Bloomberg reports that Ouster that went public after merging with a SPAC, is in advanced talks to acquire a flash LiDAR startup Sense Photonics.

UKTodayNews quotes Ouster CEO Angus Pacala saying only three to five lidar companies will remain in five years.

Sam Abuelsamid, principal research analyst at Guidehouse Insights, wonder if there’s enough room for the dozens of competitors vying for contracts.

Yole Developpement quotes CEO of XenomatiX Filip Geuens saying that it is now the time for convergence and consolidation in LiDARs: "After a period of intense technology exploration, a time of convergence and consolidation has started. It is becoming more clear which solutions will prevail.

Now it’s a matter of industrializing and letting mature the solutions that have survived the experimental phase."

CNBC: Kyle Vogt, the co-founder and president of Cruise, General Motors’ majority-owned autonomous vehicle subsidiary, is predicting a consolidation/collapse of the lidar industry, specifically regarding companies that have gone public or plan to do so through deals with blank check companies.

Tuesday, August 24, 2021

Coherent ToF Imager with 250um Depth Resolution

Caltech publishes an arxiv.org paper "IQ Photonic Receiver for Coherent Imaging with a Scalable Aperture" by Aroutin Khachaturian, Reza Fatemi, Ali Hajimiri.

Silicon photonics (SiP) integrated coherent image sensors offer higher sensitivity and improved range-resolution-product compared to direct detection image sensors such as CCD and CMOS devices. Previous generation of SiP coherent imagers suffer from relative optical phase fluctuations between the signal and reference paths, which results in random phase and amplitude fluctuations in the output signal. This limitation negatively impacts the SNR and signal acquisition times. Here we present a coherent imager system that suppresses the optical carrier signal and removes non-idealities from the relative optical path using a photonic in-phase (I) and quadrature (Q) receiver via a 90∘ hybrid detector. Furthermore, we incorporate row-column read-out and row-column addressing schemes to address the electro-optical interconnect density challenge. Our novel row-column read-out architecture for the sensor array requires only 2N interconnects for N2 sensors. An 8×8 IQ sensor array is presented as a proof-of-concept demonstration with 1.2×10−5 resolution over range accuracy. Free-space FMCW ranging with 250um resolution at 1m distance has been demonstrated using this sensor array.

Fight of Velodyne with its Founder Continues

BusinessWire: David Hall, the founder and the largest common stock holder of Velodyne Lidar, Inc. publishes another open letter to the Company’s Board of Directors:

Members of the Board,

I am pleased that following my calls for meaningful leadership changes at Velodyne Lidar, Dr. Anand Gopalan decided to resign as Chief Executive Officer and a director. Though I believe this represents a first step in the right direction, the root of poor business management and the anti-stockholder culture at Velodyne Lidar remains. This is why today, I am calling on Chairman Michael Dee and director Hamid Zarringhalam to resign from the Board. I believe that both of these individuals have breached stockholders’ confidence and destroyed significant value in the Company.

Since being installed on the Board via a merger with Graf Industrial, a special purpose acquisition company (“SPAC”), Mr. Dee has spearheaded major business decisions that leave him responsible for the Company’s nearly 80% stock price decline, in my view. Despite this poor performance and Mr. Dee’s lack of relevant skillsets or public company board experience, the Board recently elevated Mr. Dee to the position of Chairman.

In addition to Mr. Dee’s lack of relevant skillsets to serve on the Board, stockholders should be aware that he is currently deeply embroiled in litigation at PureCycle Technologies, Inc., relating to his role as Chief Financial Officer following its merger with a SPAC with disastrous results. Mr. Dee is facing serious accusations of misleading investors and fraud.

Beyond his unsettling track record, I am deeply concerned that Mr. Dee and the Board are considering transferring Velodyne Lidar’s sophisticated Alpha Prime lidar manufacturing know-how and associated trade secrets, the crown jewels of the Company’s IP portfolio, to Nikon, which is moving into the lidar space with, among other things, its recent partnership with Aeva, a Silicon Valley startup founded to develop lidar technology. I question how moving the best of the Company’s portfolio of technology to Nikon benefits Velodyne’s stockholders whatsoever. It seems as if this move greatly benefits director Hamid Zarringhalam, an executive employee of Nikon, who is acting within a disabling conflict of interest in making decisions that seemingly benefit Nikon, when he should be focused on what is best for Velodyne Lidar and its stockholders.

We are aware that during a recent conversation discussing the decline in Velodyne Lidar’s valuation, Mr. Zarringhalam commented, “I don’t care about the stock decline because I don’t own any.” This statement reveals a complete lack of professionalism and alignment with stockholders. Clearly, the Company is in serious need of ethical directors with public company and high growth tech experience to help turn around the anti-stockholder culture that pervades the current Board.

Update: BusinessWire: Velodyne responds on David Hall open letter:

David Hall is Attempting to Divert Attention from the Ongoing Arbitration Regarding his Theft of Confidential Intellectual Property

The Company believes that Mr. Hall’s actions are an attempt to distract from the serious and ongoing arbitration against Mr. Hall regarding his theft of Velodyne’s confidential, trade secret information. Mr. Hall has never denied taking this confidential, trade secret information, which he seems intent upon using to further his personal business ventures to the detriment of Velodyne and its stockholders.

Like any enterprise with a focus on innovative, breakthrough technologies, Velodyne is committed to protecting its intellectual property. The Company will take any and all actions to ensure Mr. Hall complies with his legal obligations to refrain from any use or disclosure of Velodyne’s property and to immediately return it to Velodyne. The Company views Mr. Hall’s latest missive as an attempt to divert attention from Velodyne’s upcoming proceeding against him, where an initial procedural hearing is set for September 2, 2021.

David Hall Falsely Portrays the Trusted Long-standing Relationship Between Velodyne Lidar and Nikon

The Company’s relationship with Nikon dates back to 2018, when Mr. Hall served as Chief Executive Officer of Velodyne. As part of its long-standing relationship with Velodyne, Nikon has also been a strategic investor in the Company. Today, the Company continues to have a strong partnership with Nikon as a trusted technology and manufacturing partner for Velodyne’s industry-leading lidar sensor.

Michael Dee and Hamid Zarringhalam are Aligned with Velodyne Lidar Stockholders

Michael Dee and Hamid Zarringhalam are independent directors focused on the long-term success of the Company, who have exceptional track records of success as business leaders and have served as outstanding stewards of Velodyne and its stockholders.

Mr. Hall’s fabricated statements about Mr. Zarringhalam are demonstrably false and libelous. Mr. Zarringhalam never made the comments Mr. Hall claimed, and is in fact a stockholder of the Company, having purchased stock using his own personal funds. Mr. Zarringhalam remains a stockholder today and his interests are aligned with those of all stockholders.

New Videos: Omnivision, ST, Glasgow and Heriot-Watt Universities, Robosense, Immervision

Omnivision publishes a continuation of interview with its CTO Boyd Fowler:

ST shows how its VD6283 ambient light sensor senses light flicker and helps to avoid image banding:

Centre for Quantum Technology University of Glasgow and Heriot-Watt University present their work on Ge-on-Si SPAD pixels for SWIR LiDARs:

Robosense starts mass production of its solid state automotive LiDAR:

Immervision presents the new possibilities of its freeform optics:

Monday, August 23, 2021

ON Semi Global Shutter Sensor Wins Most Innovative Value Product Award

ON Semi global shutter AR0234CS 2.3 MP CMOS sensor has won a Most Innovative Value Product Award from the 2021 China AI Outstanding Innovation Awards program. The selection criteria for all nominated products include online voting and expert review.

The AR0234CS is 1080p 120fps sensor with 3um pixels, HDR support, and MIPI and parallel interfaces.

Renesas Updates its 8MP Sensor Lineup

Renesas publishes the datasheets of its updated 8MP sensors for security camerasRAA462113FYL#AC1 (base model) and RAA462113FYL#AC2 (same with added PDAF). The datasheets are fairly detailed and even describe the allowed pixel array defects:

Sunday, August 22, 2021

Omnivision Improves its Gross Margin to 31.37%

BlueChipCorporateReview quotes some data from Will Semiconductor quarterly report:
  • Omnivision's business accounts for 74% of Will Semi revenue
  • Omnivision and Superpix subsidiaries account for 77% of the total Will Semi revenue
  • CMOS sensors gross profit margin have risen to 31.37% in 2021
  • The cost structure of the company's CMOS image sensor:
    55.09% - wafer cost
    6.01% - color filters
    10.19% - packaging and testing
    1.4% - other expenses
    This does not add up to 100%. Not sure why.
  • Camera module cost structure:
    52% - image sensor
    20% - lens
    19% - module packaging
    6% - motors
    3% - IR filter

Saturday, August 21, 2021

Smartsens Announces 1MP Automotive Sensor

SmartSens announces the SC1336, a 1/3-inch 1MP CMOS sensor for automotive applications, such as front-view cameras and surround view systems.

The new product uses SmartSens’ DSI-2 pixel with sensitivity of 12448 mV/lux·s. It also features PixGain technology and provides 11000 e- FWC.

The SC1336 comes in a 35-Pin CSP package and is currently available for sampling. It is expected to enter mass production in Q3 of 2021.

Friday, August 20, 2021

Thursday, August 19, 2021

GalaxyCore CEO Becomes a Multi-Billionaire

Forbes reports that GalaxyCore Shanghai CEO Zhao Lixin (Stanly Zhao) became billionaire after the company’s shares more than doubled on their trading debut at the Shanghai Stock Exchange on August 18, 2021.

GalaxyCore’s shares closed at 35.25 yuan, up 145% from their IPO price, leaving Zhao’s 42% stake worth 37 billion yuan, or $5.7 billion.

ee.ofweek.com lists Galaxycore's technological advantages over its competitors:
  • Galaxycore's sensors are produced with a smaller number of masks and optimized pixel process, greatly reducing costs
  • The company has developed a unique COM packaging and a COF-like design, which are different from the mainstream of the industry
  • Galaxycore uses a low-cost three metal layers process
  • Through the incremental improvements of the design, the chip area is reduced, achieving a more lean cost
Based on unit shipments, the top five suppliers in terms of market share in 2020 account for 96.0% of the total market. Among them, Galaxycore ranks first in the market with a shipment of 2.04 billion units, occupying 29.7% market share:

Intel Spokesperson: Realsense Business is Winding Down

CRN, Slashgear, Calcalist, Tom'sHardware, Verge: Multiple news outlets quote Intel spokesperson email saying: “We are winding down our RealSense business and transitioning our computer vision talent, technology and products to focus on advancing innovative technologies that better support our core businesses and IDM 2.0 strategy.

We will continue to meet our commitments to our current customers and are working with our employees and customers to ensure a smooth transition.

To the best of my knowledge, the biggest Realsense design win was Amazon Echo Look introduced in April 2017 and discontinued in May 2020:

IEEE Spectrum confirms the info about Realsense business:

"Intel has decided to wind down the RealSense business and is announcing the EOL of LiDAR, Facial Authentication and Tracking product lines this month. Intel will continue to provide select Stereo products to its current distribution customers."

Friday, August 13, 2021

Paper on QE Improvement with Surface Textures

Huazhong University of Science and Technology, Wuhan, China, publishes an AIP paper "Photon management with superlattice for image sensor pixels" by  Yuqing Cao,  Zijian Zhang, and Ken Xingze Wang.

"It is important to increase light absorption and quantum efficiency in image sensor pixels, especially for wavelength ranges in which material absorption is weak. Surface textures, including nanostructure lattices, have been invented for significant improvement in light absorption. Those nanostructures typically support a number of physical processes for which the optimal geometries are different. We design a class of nanostructure superlattices to enable the co-optimization of different physical processes for further enhancement in light absorption."

3rd Order Sigma-Delta ADC for Image Sensor

AMS and Madeira University, Portugal, publish an MDPI paper "Design Improvements on Fast, High-Order, Incremental Sigma-Delta ADCs for Low-Noise Stacked CMOS Image Sensors" by Luis Miguel Carvalho Freitas and Fernando Morgado-Dias.

"It is known that thermal and flicker noise sources are the main contributors to the degradation of the sensor performance, concerning the sensor output image noise. This paper presents an indirect way to reduce both the thermal and the flicker noise contributions by using thin-oxide low voltage supply column readout circuits and fast 3rd order incremental sigma-delta converters with noise shaping capabilities (to provide low noise output digital samples—74 μVrms; 0.7 e−rms; at 105 μV/e−), and thus performing correlated double sampling in a short time (19 μs), while dissipating significant low power (346 μW). Throughout the extensive parametric transistor-level simulations, the readout path produced 1.2% non-linearity, with a competitive saturation capacity (6.5 ke−) pixel. In addition, this paper addresses the readout parallelism as the main point of interest, decoupling resolution from the image noise and the frame rate, at virtually any array resolution."

Thursday, August 12, 2021

Plasmonic Anti-Reflection Layer

OSA Optics Express publishes a paper "Broadband responsivity enhancement of Si photodiodes by a plasmonic antireflection bilayer" by Jongcheol Park, Il-Suk Kang, Gapseop Sim, Tae Hyun Kim, and Jong-Kwon Lee from National NanoFab Center and Cheongju University, Korea.

"Randomly distributed plasmonic Ag nanoparticles (NPs) with various sizes were fabricated by a reflow process to an island-shaped Ag thin-film deposited on a Si photodiode. These NPs conformally enclosed by an antireflective (AR)-type SiNx/SiO2 bilayer reveal significantly diminished reflectance in a broad wavelength (500 nm - 1100 nm) as compared to the cases of Ag NPs or SiO2 layer enclosing Ag NPs on the Si substrate. Accordingly, the forward scattering and the total reflection along with wide-angle interference in between the dielectric bilayer incorporating the Ag NPs induce highly increased light absorption in the Si substrate. The fabricated Si photodiode adopting the plasmonic AR bilayer shows the responsivity peak value of 0.72 A/W at 835 nm wavelength and significant responsivity enhancement up to 40% relative to a bare Si photodiode in a wavelength range of 500 nm to 1000 nm."