Sony has completed the development of a new stacked CMOS sensor that offers the global drive technology of the company.
The Pregius S sensor also uses a backlit pixel structure to reduce distortion.
The sensor will start production this month; however, Sony states that its intended use is for industrial equipment that requires high processing speeds.
That said, as often happens, this sensor technology could eventually filter to Sony's consumer cameras.
Here is the full press statement:
Tokyo, Japan – Sony Corporation announced today that it has succeeded in developing Pregius S, a stacked CMOS image sensor technology that employs Sony's proprietary global shutter feature with backlit pixel structure to deliver distortion-free imaging and miniaturization performance . The new sensor technology is intended for industrial equipment used in sectors such as production, inspection and logistics that require higher precision and higher processing speed, in light of trends in industrial progress, including smartification and factory automation.
Sony will present the new technology at Vision China Shanghai 2019 starting March 20, 2019.
Conventional CMOS image sensors with global shooting function temporarily store the charge signals in the memory area located next to the photodiode to resolve image distortion (focal plane distortion) caused by the time shift due to the reading line by row. In CMOS image sensors with frontal illumination, there is a wiring layer on the silicon substrate that forms the photodiode, and with this structure, the advantage is that it is easy to form a light screen to protect the charge signal temporarily stored in the memory area from the leaked light. For this reason, conventional CMOS image sensors with global shooting function have adopted a frontally illuminated pixel structure. However, the wiring on the top of the photodiode hinders the incident light, which creates a problem when trying to miniaturize the pixels.
In response to this, Sony has developed a proprietary pixel structure that achieves the overall shooting function on a backlit structure that has superior sensitivity characteristics, thus solving the problem of miniaturization. Normally, when the pixels are miniaturized, the characteristics of sensitivity and saturation deteriorate, but the new Sony technology allows a reduction of the pixel size to 2.74 μm while maintaining the performance of these characteristics, thus obtaining a resolution of about 1.7 times higher than conventional front-illuminated CMOS image sensors. * 1 This allows objects to be measured and inspected in a larger area and with greater precision in production, inspection, logistics and other applications. Moreover, thanks to the high degree of freedom of the wiring layout of the backlit pixel structures, it is possible to obtain a high speed of about 2.4 times the conventional * 1, thus contributing to a significant improvement in productivity, including shorter measurement and inspection times. Furthermore, the stacked structure of the sensor allows to mount various signal processing circuits, thanks to which it is possible to realize intelligent functions such as signal processing only for the necessary part of the measurement and inspection images smaller than the sensors conventional. * 1 This, in turn, makes it possible to reduce the burden of subsequent processing and reduce the amount of data to be taken into account, thus contributing to the creation of highly efficient energy-saving systems.
In the future, Sony will work on developing products with this stacked CMOS image sensor that uses its proprietary global pixel backlit shutter function for various industrial applications and intelligent transport systems, including the development of circuit derivatives signal processing to be mounted. Sony plans to begin shipping sample units in summer 2019 or later.