Friday, July 28, 2017

Deutsche Bank Analysts on Apple 3D Sensing Plans

Deutsche Bank analysis of active alignment (AA) systems supplier ASM Pacific Technology (ASMPT) has interesting info on 3D sensing adoption in future iPhones and dual cameras in future Samsung phones:

"We expect ASMPT’s AA machine sales to grow only 10% YoY in 2018 and stay flat YoY in 2019, after 56% YoY growth in 2017 (Figure 8). Most camera module makers should upgrade their AA machines in 2017. Notably, we believe Apple will not implement 3D sensing for 4.7” and 5.5” iPhones in 2018. This means Apple supply chain will not procure new AA machines for 3D sensing from ASMPT in 2018 (i.e., ASMPT is benefiting from Apple’s adoption of 3D sensing for 5.8” OLED iPhone in 2017).

We estimate camera module makers could upgrade their AA machines every three years due to rapid specs migration in dual cameras for smartphones. This is shorter than the normal duration of five to six years for a CIS (CMOS image sensor) machine. However, ASMPT’s AA business could still see a sales growth deceleration in 2018/19, even assuming a shorter duration of AA machines.

Thursday, July 27, 2017

Light Publishes L16 Full Resolution Images

Two weeks after Light L16 computational camera shipments start, there is still no single user review anywhere on the web. However, LightRumors notices that Light Co. has released few full resolution images on its web site. The images are processed using Light’s proprietary software, Lumen, which is powered by Light's proprietary Polar Fusion engine. The engine computationally fuse the many images captured by the L16 to create one high-quality image.

Light Co. also publishes a nice tutorial explaining the L16 camera operation and technology.

Samsung to Allocate Capex for CIS Foundry Business

Samsung Q2 2017 earnings report mentions a capex allocation fro CIS foundry business:

"The Foundry Business is... to allocate sizable capex for converting part of line 11 from DRAM to image sensor production in the second half [of 2017]."

The company also mentions a healthy state of the image sensor sales:

"The System LSI Business increased sales of mobile processors and image sensors.

System LSI Business earnings improved QoQ... Sales of image sensors also contributed to earnings.

Growing market adoption of dual camera solutions will also boost image sensor shipments.

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

ST Reports Strong FlightSense Sales

ST Micro reports Q2 2017 results. Regarding the imaging business, the company says "As anticipated, Imaging revenues in the second quarter decreased slightly on a sequential basis to $68 million, while we prepare for the ramp of new programs.

On a year-over-year basis, Imaging revenues increased 60% in the second quarter, and for the first half 2017 rose 83% to $140 million driven by ST’s innovative Time-of-Flight technology.

In the second quarter we continued to gain design-wins while delivering high volumes of our “FlightSense” Time-of-Flight proximity and ranging sensors to multiple smartphone OEMs. We now have reached cumulative shipments of over 300 million Time-of-Flight sensors and are in more than 80 smartphone models from 15 different OEMs.

In our Imaging business, we anticipate strong sequential growth, as the key new program ramps in Q3, followed by further revenue acceleration in the fourth quarter of this year.

EETimes speculates that the "key new program ramps in Q3" might mean ToF sensor in Apple iPhone 8.

SeekingAlpha publishes the earnings call transcript with a clarifying question in Q&A session:

Janardan Menon - Liberum Capital Ltd.

And just a brief follow-up on the Time-of-Flight, which is in your other division. After a big jump in the second half of last year, that revenue has sort of flattened out. But you are continuously reporting higher number of models and OEM on that particular product. And now I understand that from the second half, that revenue will increase sharply because of the 3D of the special program.

But just on the Time-of-Flight itself, can you give some reason why that revenue is not really rising as a number of model. Is that price pressure coming there? Or what are the dynamics which is happening there?

Carlo Bozotti - STMicro CEO:

I think on the Time-of-Flight, we have enormous number of customers in our end. Of course, we are also working on new technologies for the Time-of-Flight. So, there would be a new wave, but we are pretty happy that the growth is impressive in Imaging and we are investing a lot for the new initiative. This is visible of course in terms of expenses in the P&L, but we have now sort (47:46) the $300 million business of Time-of-Flight that we want to keep going and we have the opportunity. I think it's pretty good and it's a pretty good business. I would say it's very good business, but in parallel, we are investing on new things and this will make – will allow us to make another important step.

Princeton IR Tech Announces 1.2MP 95fps ITAR-free SWIR Sensor

IMVEurope, Photonics: Prinston Infrared Technologies announces its first InGaAs SWIR camera to fall under the no ITAR restrictions. The 1280SciCam, features a 1,280 x 1,024-pixel image sensor on a 12µm pitch, having long exposure times, low read noise, 14-bit digital output, and full frame rates up to 95Hz. The camera is designed for advanced scientific and astronomy applications, and is now classified by the Export Administration Regulations as EAR 6A003.b.4.a for export.

The US government’s export control has been going through a process of reform, which began in 2009 as part of the Obama Administration's Export Control Reform (ECR) initiative. The technology from Princeton Infrared no longer falls under ITAR control, which is equipment specially designed or modified for military use, but now falls under EAR. This, in theory, makes it easier to export the technology outside the USA.

Bob Struthers, sales director at Princeton Infrared Technologies, says: ‘Our 1280SciCam has already generated sales and applications with leading research entities overseas. An EAR export classification will propel our ability to serve these customers promptly and efficiently. This will be very valuable to their upcoming projects and equally beneficial to the growth of our young company.

IMVEurope: A year ago, Xenics SWIR cameras have been granted Commodity Jurisdiction (CJ) approval. This new CJ means that all SWIR cameras supplied by Xenics are now ITAR-free in the US.

Pyxalis and Framos Extend Cooperation

Presseagentur: Framos and Pyxalis extend their custom sensor design cooperation. The companies have been cooperating for several years and now have entered into a formal agreement. This partnership provides Framos partners with fully customized, high performance sensors, including sensor specification elaboration support, sensor architecture, design, prototyping, validation, industrialization and manufacturing.

We’re delighted to work with FRAMOS Technologies in Europe and North America. As a 7-year-old company supplying custom image sensors, we’ve built successful partnerships with customers in many applications from niche markets (aerospace, scientific, defense) to medium volume (industrial, medical) and consumer markets (biometrics, automotive). Thanks to this cooperation with FRAMOS, it is now time to reach a larger market and to provide our capabilities and technologies to a greater number of customers.” says Philippe Rommeveaux, PYXALIS’s President and CEO.

HDPYX Customized Sensor

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

EI Image Sensors and Imaging Systems 2017 Papers in Open Access

EI Symposium Image Sensors and Imaging Systems 2017 papers are published in open access. There is quite a lot of good papers:
  • Accurate Joint Geometric Camera Calibration of Visible and Far-Infrared Cameras
    Authors: Shibata, Takashi; Tanaka, Masayuki; Okutomi, Masatoshi
  • High Sensitivity and High Readout Speed Electron Beam Detector using Steep pn Junction Si diode for Low Acceleration Voltage
    Authors: Koda, Yasumasa; Kuroda, Rihito; Hara, Masaya; Tsunoda, Hiroyuki; Sugawa, Shigetoshi
  • A full-resolution 8K single-chip portable camera system
    Authors: Nakamura, Tomohiro; Yamasaki, Takahiro; Funatsu, Ryohei; Shimamoto, Hiroshi
  • Filter Selection for Multispectral Imaging Optimizing Spectral, Colorimetric and Image Quality
    Authors: Wang, Yixuan; Berns, Roy S.
  • The challenge of shot-noise limited speckle patterns statistical analysis
    Authors: Tualle, J.-M.; Barjean, K.; Tinet, E.; Ettori, D.
  • Hot Pixel Behavior as Pixel Size Reduces to 1 micron
    Authors: Chapman, Glenn H.; Thomas, Rahul; Koren, Israel; Koren, Zahava
  • Octagonal CMOS Image Sensor for Endoscopic Applications
    Authors: Wäny, Martin; Santos, Pedro; Reis, Elena G.; Andrade, Alice; Sousa, Ricardo M.; Sousa, L. Natércia
  • Optimization of CMOS Image Sensor Utilizing Variable Temporal Multi-Sampling Partial Transfer Technique to Achieve Full-frame High Dynamic Range with Superior Low Light and Stop Motion Capability
    Kabir, Salman; Smith, Craig; Armstrong, Frank; Barnard, Gerrit; Guidash, Michael; Vogelsang, Thomas; Endsley, Jay
  • A Lateral Electric Field charge Modulator with Bipolar-gates for Time-resolved Imaging
    Authors: Morikawa, Yuki; Yasutomi, Keita; Imanishi, Shoma; Takasawa, Taishi; Kagawa, Keiichiro; Teranishi, Nobukazu; Kawahito, Shoji
  • A 128x128, 34μm pitch, 8.9mW, 190mK NETD, TECless Uncooled IR bolometer image sensor with column-wise processing
    Authors: Alacoque, Laurent; Martin, Sébastien; Rabaud, Wilfried; Beigné, Edith; Dupret, Antoine; Dupont, Bertrand
  • Residual Bulk Image Characterization using Photon Transfer Techniques
    Author: Crisp, Richard
  • RTS and photon shot noise reduction based on maximum likelihood estimate with multi-aperture optics and semi-photon-counting-level CMOS image sensors
    Authors: Ishida, Haruki; Kagawa, Keiichiro; Seo, Min-Woong; Komuro, Takashi; Zhang, Bo; Takasawa, Taishi; Yasutomi, Keita; Kawahito, Shoji
  • Linearity analysis of a CMOS image sensor
    Authors: Wang, Fei; Theuwissen, Albert
  • Fast, Low-Complex, Non-Contact Motion Encoder based on the NSIP Concept
    Authors: Anders, Åström; Robert, Forchheimer
  • In the quest of vision-sensors-on-chip: Pre-processing sensors for data reduction
    Authors: Rodríguez-Vázquez, A.; Carmona-Galán, R.; Fernández-Berni, J.; Brea, V.; Leñero-Bardallo, J.A.

Monday, July 24, 2017

TechInsights Reviews Pixel Isolation Structures

TechInsights keeps publishing parts from Ray Fontaine's presentation at IISW 2017. The third part reviews modern pixel-to-pixel crosstalk reduction measures: Front-DTI and Back-DTI:

Sony dielectric-filled B-DTI structure from the 1.4 µm pixel featuring a 2.9 µm thick substrate extends to a depth of 1.9 µm from the back surface, although it extends to a depth of 2.4 µm deep at B-DTI intersections:

Samsung 1.12 µm pixel generation B-DTI trenches extend 1.3 µm deep into a 2.6 µm deep substrate:

Omnivision 1.0 µm pixel B-DTI extends 0.45 µm deep into the back surface of a 2.5 µm thick substrate:

Saturday, July 22, 2017

DVS Camera for Drones

Zurich University spin-off and event-driven sensor patents licensee Insightness presents its camera for drone navigation and obstacle avoidance:

Sony Unveils Variable-Speed Global Shutter Sensor

Sony publishes a flyer of IMX428LLJ/LQJ monochrome global shutter sensor featuring "variable-speed shutter function (resolution 1 H units)":

Update: There is also a faster version IMX420LLJ/LQJ achieving 200fps at 8b resolution: