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'First' quarter-inch image sensors integrate EDoF

Posted: 06 Mar 2009 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:sensor image? EDoF integrate? Bayer 3Mpixel?

STMicroelectronics has introduced the market's first quarter-inch optical format, 3Mpixel raw Bayer sensors with integrated Extended-Depth-of-Field (EDoF) capabilities. Enabling camera modules as small as 6.5mm x 6.5mm, ST's newest image sensors combine sharpness and user experience with size and cost benefits, offering an alternative to auto-focus camera solutions.

The VD6853 and VD6803 are high-performance 3.15Mpixel CMOS image sensors with integrated EDoF. The combination of on-chip EDoF with ST's 1.75?m pixel process results in excellent image quality at focus distances down to 15cm, extending the camera's in-focus range from ultra-short distance optical character recognition and bar-code reading.

ST's new CMOS sensors also embed image enhancement filters including 4-channel anti-vignette to balance uneven illumination or defect correction on the fly, which ensure optimum image quality and reduce tuning complexity. In addition to mobile phones, the sensors can be used in other imaging applications where the cost, power consumption or physical size of conventional auto-focus solutions is prohibitive, such as laptop cameras, toys or machine-vision applications.

"Our newest sensors smartly combine advantages of auto-focus solutionsimage sharpness and rich user experiencewith size, cost and reliability benefits associated with fixed-focus camera modules," said Arnaud Laflaquiere, sensor business unit director at ST. "These devices meet the demanding performance and cost requirements from camera phone vendors and are well suited for future wafer-scale optics and assembly technologies."

The sensors are available in ST's through silicon via (TSV) wafer-level package. This type of package enables the production of standard and wafer-level camera modules. The reflowable modules are soldered directly on the phone PCB, which saves cost, space and time compared with the process of fixing traditional camera modules in the board socket.

ST's new image sensors are available with a 10bit parallel legacy interface (VD6803) or CCP2 interface (VD6853). They are compatible with most of the leading baseband and application processors with integrated image signal processor. For example, the SMIA-compliant VD6853 is fully compatible with ST's image processor (STV0986) that brings standalone digital camera performance to cellphones, PDAs, gaming devices and other mobile applications.

Engineering samples and demo-kits are available now, with the volume production scheduled for Q3 09. The VD6803 and VD6853 are available in two package options, as a chip on board die or in the TSV wafer-level package. Unit pricing is below $5, depending on the package types and shipment dates.

- Henri Arnold
EE Times Europe

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