Wednesday, December 29, 2021

More About Canon 3.2MP SPAD Sensor

Canon publishes a press release about its SPAD sensor with 6.39 μm pixels presented at IEDM 2021:

"Canon Inc. announced today that the company, thanks to a proprietary pixel architecture that efficiently captures and greatly multiplies light, has successfully developed an ultra-small 13.2 mm x 9.9 mm SPAD sensor capable of capturing the world's highest1 resolution of 3.2-megapixel images—a higher resolution than Full HD (approximately 2.07 megapixels), even in low-light environments. Manufacture of the new sensor will commence in the second half of 2022.

The newly developed SPAD sensor employs a proprietary pixel architecture that reflects photons inside the pixel in order to effectively detect photons across the entire range of the effective pixels. Under equivalent light, this SPAD sensor can capture the same images as a conventional CMOS sensor while requiring only 1/10 of imaging area. This makes possible an ultra-small design that can be installed even in small devices and greatly increases sensitivity, including for light on the near-infrared spectrum, and realizes video capture with 3.2 megapixels under low-light conditions of 0.002 lux—darker than a starless night sky. By equipping cameras designed for low-light and monitoring applications with this new SPAD sensor, even video footage of low-light environments can be viewed as if it were recorded in bright areas, enabling identification of subject movement as though viewing with the naked eye in well-lit environments

Beginning in the second half of 2022, Canon will commence manufacturing of SPAD sensors for use in the company's security-oriented network camera products. With the inclusion of this innovative sensor, Canon's products will gain a competitive edge and contribute to the realization of a more safe and secure society.

In addition, the SPAD sensor is capable of extremely high information processing speeds on the level of 100 ps (picoseconds, one-trillionth of a second), enabling it to capture objects moving at high speeds including photons. With a resolution that surpasses Full HD and high sensitivity that enables capture of faint light, the sensor's unique rapid response functionality can be utilized in a wide range of applications including self-driving vehicles, medical treatment, diagnostic imaging devices and scientific precision measuring instruments. Canon will proactively expand its sales network in order to encourage further innovation and development of society."


  1. <0.1 DCR/um^2 sounds very impressive (it's good that they used area-normalized number). The paper is not online yet. Anyone knows what special process made it orders of magnitude lower than that of the others in the plot?

  2. What's the power consumption?


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