OmniVision Technologies, Inc. (Nasdaq: OVTI), a leading independent supplier of CMOS CameraChip(TM) image sensors for high-volume applications, announced the introduction of its new OmniPixel3(TM) architecture. Featuring its new 1.75 micron pixel, OmniVision’s third-generation pixel design is among the smallest currently available and will deliver sensors with higher resolution, enhanced performance and improved image quality, all in a smaller form factor.
The OmniPixel3 architecture incorporates several significant technology developments that enable increased pixel density and maximize the performance of the new 1.75-micron pixel. The new architecture uses leading-edge design rules in conjunction with a dedicated and proprietary 0.11-micron CMOS process. By maximizing the efficiency of the photodiode process and pixel design for high full-well capacity, and installing a new low-noise pixel and column sense readout, OmniPixel3 architecture optimizes pixel symmetry to avoid color distortion and offers improved dynamic range of up to 65dB. The up to 20 percent improvement in fill factor plus increased sensitivity means more vibrant and truer-to-life color reproduction.
“Our major challenge as we shrink the pixel size is that we have to shrink the photodiode, the area of the sensor that captures light,” said Howard Rhodes, Vice President of Process Engineering at OmniVision. “As the photodiode shrinks, it becomes increasingly difficult to focus light onto the actual photo sensor, which can result in a loss of performance and image quality. OmniPixel3′s proprietary pixel architecture and aggressive design rules enable us to more effectively focus light onto the photo sensor, allowing the pixels to capture significantly more light and thus make more effective use of the smaller pixel’s active area. Together with OmniVision’s new color filter array technology and zero-gap micro-lens technology, we believe we have the result of excellent sensitivity and superior cross-talk performance.”
“OmniPixel3 architecture aims to meet the critical demands of several fast evolving markets, such as camera phones and lap-tops, where smaller and thinner features dominate design specifications,” said James He, OmniVision’s Chief Operating Officer. “By shrinking the pixel size, OmniVision enables higher resolution cameras for these fast moving markets by improving image quality and maintaining the small form factor requirements for such applications. Looking beyond tomorrow, OmniVision continues to invest in the ongoing evolution of consumer driven markets with the development of an even smaller 1.4 micron architecture already well underway.”
Additional process technology optimizations help OmniPixel3 achieve ultra low dark current (30 e/sec) and low defect density, making this technology ideal for use in low-light and variable light conditions. Further innovations include a new transfer gate design process and contact technologies that achieve lag-free operation throughout the signal range. Eliminating read-out lag ensures that no ‘ghost images’ or unwanted noise are present in the imaging process.
OmniVision expects to launch the first product based on its OmniPixel3 architecture in the third quarter of 2007.
OmniVision Technologies designs and markets high-performance semiconductor image sensors. Its OmniPixel(R), OmniPixel2(TM) and CameraChip(TM) products are highly integrated single-chip CMOS image sensors for mass-market consumer and commercial applications such as mobile phones, digital still cameras, security and surveillance systems, interactive video games, lap-tops and PCs and automotive and medical imaging systems.
OmniVision(R) is a registered trademark of OmniVision Technologies, Inc. CameraChip(TM) and OmniPixel3(TM) are trademarks of OmniVision Technologies, Inc.