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UMC enters CMOS licensing pact with STM

Posted: 07 Sep 2012 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:CMOS image sensor? photodetector pixels? back-side illumination?

Taiwan-based United Microelectronics (UMC) has announced that it will extend its partnership with STMicroelectronics in developing CMOS image sensor technology, this time focusing on back-side illumination (BSI). The 65-nm CMOS image sensor processor will be available to other foundry customers as well, UMC said in the release.

The use of back-side illumination of photodetector pixels through a thinned silicon die has advantages over conventional front-side illumination in terms of light capture and low-light performance.

The BSI partnership follows upon the two companies' success to manufacture ST's front-side illumination processes at UMC's 300mm Fab12i in Singapore. The 1.1?m pixel BSI process, which will also be developed at Fab12i, will be available as an open platform for customers to create image sensors for applications that require high resolution and picture quality with more than 10 million pixels. The 65-nm BSI process will be made available to foundry customers through a licensing agreement with ST.

UMC did not indicate how long the development would take or how soon it would be supplying ST with sensors or accepting designs from third parties.

UMC's competence in the CMOS image sensor field includes existing manufacturing processes for both 200- and 300-mm diameter wafer manufacturing. The BSI process, already in use consumer applications, is expected to be adopted in the industrial and automotive fields.

"ST's previous success in imaging technologies with UMC gives us great confidence in the development of this next-generation image-sensor process technology with UMC," said Eric Aussedat, corporate vice president at ST, in a statement issued by UMC. "Our joint experience will enable ST to offer a state-of-the-art back-side illumination process to support all the applications and markets that we want to address."

- EE Times

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