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Cypress acquisition sees growth opportunities in imaging

Posted: 25 Jun 2004 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:image processing? FillFactory? cmos? image sensor? ccd?

Cypress Semiconductor Corp. is looking for a stronger position in the image-processing market with the acquisition of Belgium-based FillFactory NV.

Under the terms of the acquisition, Cypress will pay $100 million in cash for IMEC spinout. The transaction, which is expected to close in the third quarter, will add a possible $25 million to $30 million this year to Cypress' projected revenues of $1.1 billion, according to Ralph Schmitt, executive VP for sales, marketing and business development.

But that small additional revenue stream, Schmitt reckons, will likely be closer to $250 million by 2007. "We see a quick growth path," he added.

The market for CMOS image sensors - growing at the expense of CCDs - is expected to increase from $500 million in 2004 to $1.2 billion in 2007, according to market researcher iSuppli Corp. Camera phones represent the immediate target of opportunity, said Schmitt. iSuppli estimates a 49 percent compound annual growth rate, but Schmitt said cellphone customers like Nokia and Motorola have been asking for process-compatible add-ons to Cypress' high-speed memory products.

(Instead of asking how memory might be added to an ASIC image processor, Cypress engineers are now contemplating how an image sensor could serve as the front-end of a memory.)

Automotive applications are another targeted area for CMOS image sensors, and are expected grow 59 percent annually, according to iSuppli. By 2007, each car could have as many as 20 or 30 image sensors, Schmitt said.

FillFactory's products, which are based on proprietary pixel architecture, include a 13.85Mpixel sensor used in Kodak's new DCS line of professional digital cameras. Another FillFactory product is a 100-by-135mm sensor used for mammography applications. One of the world's largest image sensors, it takes up the bulk an eight-inch wafer.

Other products include radiation-tolerant sensors for aerospace applications, such as star trackers, and synchronous shutter sensors with very-high readout rates for use in high-speed scientific image analysis.

- Stephan Ohr

EE Times

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