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Time-of-flight sensor for 3D imaging and face recognition

Tower Semiconductor (NASDAQ/TASE: TSEM), the leading foundry of high value analog semiconductor solutions, and OPIX, an innovative supplier of 3D Time-of-Flight (ToF) image sensor solutions, today announced the successful development of a world class iToF technology platform for 3D imaging and face recognition, featuring multiple depth sensing and distance measurement applications for a broad range of markets, based on Tower’s state of the art, pixel level wafer stacking BSI technology.

The newly developed technology is implemented in a high-end image sensor product that is being integrated into a 3D camera module in partnership with a global industry leader of 3D cameras and imaging systems for mobile applications. This three-party collaboration produced a unique sensor product that is perfectly suited to serve a wide variety of fast-growing markets such as mobile, AR/VR, retail, robotics, automation, and industrial inspection.

Utilizing TOWER’s 65nm leading pixel-level stacked BSI CIS technology fabricated in its Uozu, Japan facility, as well as Tower’s vast expertise in development of iToF image sensor technology, provided an outstanding platform for the design of this cutting-edge performing product, a first in a series of iToF products.

“We are very excited about our collaboration with the Opix team of experts who helped bring to the market this new, world-class iToF technology”, said Dr. Avi Strum, Senior Vice President and General Manager of the Sensors and Displays Business Unit, Tower Semiconductor. “This highly advanced technology comprehensively meets the challenging requirements and specifications of a small sized iToF imager and demonstrates our notable capabilities and fervent commitment to provide our customers with market-leading imaging solutions”.

The first sensor that is currently being prototyped to customers features a 5µm 3-tap state-of-the-art iToF pixel incorporating a pixel array with resolution of 640×480 pixels. The BSI technology provides excellent sensitivity at NIR wavelengths. In addition, the wafer stacking enables very high modulation frequencies of up to 165 MHz and 30 depth frames per second which results in industry-leading depth accuracy at short, mid and long-range distances even in challenging ambient light conditions by using pulse modulation iToF technique. Advanced features such as multiple acquisition modes,depth with single and dual frequency, low-power standby modes and an industry standard MIPI CSI-2 interface, allow very versatile and flexible operation, providing a cost effective all-in solution, making this product the ultimate choice for various 3D imaging applications, especially in the mobile market.

“At Opix, we worked hard during the past 18 months in order to make this development successful. 3D imaging becomes ubiquitous in all imaging markets nowadays and as a CEO I am very proud to see us competing already on spec level with known solutions of tech giants,” said Dr. Xinyang Wang, CEO at Opix. “With our 100% focus and dedication to 3D imaging and support of our partners, we have a strong belief we can play an important role in the coming years to serve the market with innovative solutions for the emerging 3D imaging market.”


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Product, Time-of-flight, 3D imaging

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