Advanced Imaging


Industry News

Updated: July 8th, 2008 05:26 PM CDT

OmniVision Shrinks Sensor Size, Improves Performance With New 1.75-Micron OmniPixel3(TM) Architecture

via PRNewswire

SUNNYVALE , Calif., May 23 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- OmniVision Technologies, Inc. (Nasdaq: OVTI), a leading independent supplier of CMOS CameraChip(TM) image sensors for high-volume applications, today announced theintroduction of its new OmniPixel3(TM) architecture. Featuring its new 1.75micron pixel, OmniVision's third-generation pixel design is among the smallestcurrently available and will deliver sensors with higher resolution, enhancedperformance and improved image quality, all in a smaller form factor.

The OmniPixel3 architecture incorporates several significant technologydevelopments that enable increased pixel density and maximize the performanceof the new 1.75-micron pixel. The new architecture uses leading-edge designrules in conjunction with a dedicated and proprietary 0.11-micron CMOS process.By maximizing the efficiency of the photodiode process and pixel design forhigh full-well capacity, and installing a new low-noise pixel and column sensereadout, OmniPixel3 architecture optimizes pixel symmetry to avoid colordistortion and offers improved dynamic range of up to 65dB. The up to 20percent improvement in fill factor plus increased sensitivity means morevibrant and truer-to-life color reproduction.

"Our major challenge as we shrink the pixel size is that we have to shrinkthe photodiode, the area of the sensor that captures light," said HowardRhodes , Vice President of Process Engineering at OmniVision. "As thephotodiode shrinks, it becomes increasingly difficult to focus light onto theactual photo sensor, which can result in a loss of performance and imagequality. OmniPixel3's proprietary pixel architecture and aggressive designrules enable us to more effectively focus light onto the photo sensor,allowing the pixels to capture significantly more light and thus make moreeffective use of the smaller pixel's active area. Together with OmniVision'snew color filter array technology and zero-gap micro-lens technology, webelieve we have the result of excellent sensitivity and superior cross-talkperformance."

"OmniPixel3 architecture aims to meet the critical demands of several fastevolving markets, such as camera phones and lap-tops, where smaller andthinner features dominate design specifications," said James He, OmniVision'sChief Operating Officer. "By shrinking the pixel size, OmniVision enableshigher resolution cameras for these fast moving markets by improving imagequality and maintaining the small form factor requirements for suchapplications. Looking beyond tomorrow, OmniVision continues to invest in theongoing evolution of consumer driven markets with the development of an evensmaller 1.4 micron architecture already well underway."

Additional process technology optimizations help OmniPixel3 achieve ultralow dark current (30 e/sec) and low defect density, making this technologyideal for use in low-light and variable light conditions. Further innovationsinclude a new transfer gate design process and contact technologies thatachieve lag-free operation throughout the signal range. Eliminating read-outlag ensures that no 'ghost images' or unwanted noise are present in theimaging process.

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