Underscoring its commitment to excellence in pixel performance, Aptina, the leading innovator of CMOS imaging technology, today detailed its strategy to address the challenges designers face as the industry moves toward smaller pixel sizes.
Enhancements to the company’s third generation Aptina™ A-Pix™ frontside illumination (FSI) image sensor technology enable significant improvements in quantum efficiency (QE) and crosstalk and provide a 25 percent improvement in light level for the same signal-to-noise ratio performance over second generation technology. Today, the company also announced its plans to introduce backside illumination (BSI) image sensor technology in the second half of 2010 to address those applications requiring 1.1-micron pixels and below. With the combination of its industry-leading portfolio of high-quality imaging solutions, the enhancements to its Aptina A-Pix image sensor technology and strategy for BSI image sensor solutions, Aptina is well positioned to maintain a leadership position in the market. The company has also announced two new products today that integrate Aptina’s enhanced technology.
Despite industry trends toward higher resolution and smaller pixels in many imaging applications, there are also a growing number of applications requiring larger pixels with their superior low-light image quality. Applications such as HD video in digital still and video cameras, mobile phone cameras, PC’s and surveillance will require the excellent image quality enabled by larger pixel sizes, such as such as 1.4- and 1.75-micron, and these larger pixels favor FSI solutions such as Aptina A-Pix.
The new Aptina A-Pix advancements announced today extend the capabilities of FSI with a new wide lightguide and introduce deep photodiode technology. Aptina A-Pix leverages a new advanced semiconductor manufacturing process with 65 nanometer pixel design rules. This process allows for wider metal openings to insert larger lightguides into the pixel to channel more photons through interconnect layers, and efficiently capture them in the deep photodiode. The deep photodiode is a photodetector engineered to extend the depletion depth into the silicon wafer to capture electrons generated by long wavelength photons that would otherwise be lost to recombination or to adjacent pixels resulting in lower QE and crosstalk. Aptina has also enhanced the microlens and optical layers to maximize light collection. Not only do these enhancements improve FSI technology performance, they are also proving essential in the development of a market-leading 1.1-micron BSI pixel.
“Aptina is committed to being the preferred partner in developing and delivering distinctive imaging solutions rapidly and cost effectively to address the needs of our customers,” said Gennadiy Agranov, Vice President, Imaging Technology at Aptina. “Today, we are seeing a conflict in market requirements between the move toward smaller high-resolution cameras with smaller pixels and that of growing expectations for improved image and video performance. For these reasons, we believe our strategy to continue enhancing our industry-recognized FSI image sensor technology while introducing BSI technology for those applications with the very smallest pixels, is the best approach.”