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Micron breaks mega-pixel barrier with CMOS image sensor

Posted: 05 Mar 2003 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:micron technology? cmos image sensr? vga image sensor? mi 1300? ccd sensor?

Micron Technology Inc. launched its most significant salvo yet against the charged coupled device (CCD) camp, introducing its first mega-pixel CMOS image sensor.

Micron is targeting the 1.3Mpixel low-power image sensor at digital still cameras, digital video cameras, and PC cameras. It is the latest in a series of products that are helping Micron work its way up the CMOS image sensor ladder.

Earlier this month, Micron released a standalone VGA-resolution CMOS chip, as well as a SoC, aimed at camera phones. The latest sensor, MI-1300, is capable of 30fps progressive scan, which goes beyond the frame rates available for CCD sensors designed for digital still cameras, the company said.

"The combination of our sensor design expertise and advanced process technology is extremely powerful and has enabled Micron to develop cost competitive mega-pixel CMOS image sensors that rival CCD quality," said Shawn Maloney, senior director of marketing for Micron Imaging.

Maloney added that Micron's mega-pixel technology is being targeted at the rapidly growing digital still camera market.

The memory giant is leveraging its DRAM lines to drive down the cost of its image sensors. Micron is using a low-leakage, 0.185m process at its Boise, Idaho, fabs to produce the sensor.

Claiming a dark current of 20 electrons per second and a low temporal noise <10 electrons, which helps in low-light situations, the company said it is competitive with CCD performance and can beat out many of its CMOS image sensor peers.

The specification rundown for the MI-1300 includes: on-chip timing and control, ADC, programmable gain, and exposure control, auto black level calibration along with and snap-shot and viewfinder modes.

In line with what is now becoming the baseline dual-mode capability of imaging devices, the MI-1300 is capable of continuous video and single shots with sync input and strobe output as well as windowing, horizontal and vertical blanking control.

Now that it has broken the mega-pixel barrier with CMOS sensors, Micron said it will roll out follow-on products later this year.

- Mike Clendenin

EE Times

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