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Tessera extends biz to VGA camera lenses

Posted: 24 Sep 2008 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:camera lens? IP core? image sensor?

Tessera Technologies Inc. has announced the Product Launch Services that will offer early access to its OptiML wafer-level camera technology. The new services will deliver advanced imaging technology directly to manufacturers.

The first product deployed under the Tessera service is the OptiML WL-VGA-1E, a single-element VGA lens for cellphone camera modules. The WL-VGA-1E is a reflow-compatible lens designed to work with 2.2?-pixel VGA image sensors. Reflow compatibility enables camera modules built with the lens to go through high heat soldering without damage, said Yehudit Dagan, Tessera's VP, program integration, who will oversee the program from Tessera's Charlotte, N.C., facility.

"We inherited the wafer fab from our acquisition of Digital Optics Corp. in Charlotte, NC. in 2006," said Dagan. "We'll be ramping up production by 2009."

Digital Optics was founded in 1991 by a team of experts in micro-optics led by University of North Carolina at Charlotte faculty member Michael Feldman.

The OptiML WL-VGA-1E will include an integrated infrared filter incorporated into the lens to reduce the component count required for the camera module. "Thousands of WL-VGA-1E lenses can be manufactured simultaneously on a single wafer for a high-volume approach that is coming close to making the goal of a $1 VGA camera module a reality," said Dagan.

The new lens will support cellphone cameras, as well as applications such as PC cameras, gaming consoles and security cameras. Techno Systems Research Co. forecasts that about 800 million VGA and CIF camera modules will be manufactured for cellphone and "Web cam" applications by 2012.

In addition to offering the lens as a standard product, Tessera said it will work with customers on optical design and fabricate engineering samples before entering volume production of customized lenses.

"We are not moving away from the licensing model for our intellectual property, but having this kind of services will seed the market with cameras with these advanced lenses. We are providing our licensees the chance of working with their OEMs in a more efficient manner," said Dagan.

Samples of the WL-VGA-1E single-element lens are available now starting at $1 per lens in quantities of several thousand. Early next year, the product will ship in quantities of 100,000 and more.

- Nicolas Mokhoff
EE Times

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