Photonics West showcases new image sensor technology

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Nano-electronics research centre, Imec, has shown a prototype of a multispectral time-delay-integration (TDI) imager based on its CCD-in-CMOS technology at SPIE Photonics West.

The sensor, on display at the photonics trade fair in San Francisco from 31 January to 2 February, takes CCD TDI pixels and integrates them with a CMOS readout.

Imec produces the sensors in one CMOS-compatible flow, using backside-illumination technology to maximise light sensitivity. The TDI CCD-in-CMOS technology is combined with multispectral or RGB colour filters that can be processed at wafer level or, alternatively, filters on glass may be used.

Due to its high sensitivity and speed of up to 300kHz, the imager targets high-end applications, such as remote sensing, life sciences and machine vision.

Imec offers its CCD-in-CMOS TDI technology through various business models, ranging from full-custom design to prototype TDI sensors and evaluation cameras. The prototype TDI sensors use a format with 4,096 columns and 256 stages per CCD array or band. A version with one CCD array is available, as well as a seven-band version, allowing the addition of seven spectral filters. The prototypes integrate CMOS drivers and readout circuitry.

‘This unique low-power TDI technology excels in speed and sensitivity. Also, the availability of multispectral filters allows extraction of significantly more features of the moving scene than a traditional TDI solution,’ said Jonathan Borremans, programme manager at Imec.

Imec was also showing its snapshot hyperspectral camera, Snapscan, at Photonics West. The imager has a spatial resolution of up to seven megapixels and spectral resolution of 150 bands.

Sensor manufacturer e2v was also at the trade fair, exhibiting a global shutter CMOS sensor with 2.8µm square pixels. The Emerald sensor family offers resolutions of 8, 12, and 16 megapixels, up to 110fps at full resolution, multi-ROI mode, all in an optical format of one-inch or smaller.

E2v will become part of Teledyne Technologies following an acquisition agreement made in December 2016 for £620 million.

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