Back-side illumination, wafer-scale optics drive 2X-5X jump in CMOS image sensor performance

Wed, 07/07/2010 - 4:39am

Ultrathin silicon that enables back-side illumination (BSI), and integrated wafer-level optics are bringing sharply improved performance, lower costs, and smaller size, driving CMOS image sensors into more and more markets -- and these technologies may soon impact other IC manufacturing as well.

Thinning silicon wafers down to 5μm transparent films to let light through the back side is driving a 2× to 5× improvement in sensitivity for smaller pixel image sensors. Yole Développement sees CMOS sensors now moving quickly into higher performance applications, including high resolution digital SLR cameras and digital video recorders, as they come to match the performance of CCDs at lower cost. These thinning and annealing technologies may also open new possibilities for 3D stacking and integration of very thin layers of memory and logic devices in the future. Wafer-level optics are also starting to reduce camera module size and cost in even demanding handset applications, and could also bring similar improvements to projection lens systems for gaming stations and micro displays.

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