Toshiba Develops Hi-Rez CMOS Image Sensor

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Tokyo - Toshiba on Tuesday unveiled here a new CMOS image sensor that will bring 14.6 million pixels to digital still cameras and mobile phones, and could herald the company's full-scale entry into the digital imaging market.

Part of the System LSI unit's Dynastron lineup, the sensor is said to be Toshiba's first to integrate back-side illumination technology (BSI) for increased sensitivity. This is said to bring new levels of responsiveness to CMOS imaging and involves the use of lenses placed on the rear of the sensor on the silicon substrate instead of the front, where wiring limits light absorption, according to Toshiba.

The positioning will boost light sensitivity and absorption by 40 percent compared with existing Toshiba products, and allows formation of finer image pixels.

Toshiba will begin sampling of the new sensor in December and plans to begin mass production in the third quarter of 2010 (July-September).

The 14.6 million pixels, each measuring 1.4 microns, are packed onto the 1/2.3-inch sensor. It is said to allow a new level of image quality from compact devices, including mobile phones.

In a statement, Toshiba said it plans to use the new sensor to promote a full-scale entry to the digital camera market and will continue to develop BSI products as a mainstream technology.

The new sensor will be mass produced at Toshiba's Oita Operations, on industry leading 300mm wafer lines deploying 65nm process technology. Initial production will be at a volume of 500,000 sensors a month, Toshiba said.


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