Updated on December 20th, 2021
Sony has announced new image sensor technology that can significantly improve the quality of images captured on smartphones. The company revealed this during IEEE International Electron Devices Meeting that started on Saturday, December 11, 2021.
Sony describes the technology as the "world’s first stacked CMOS image sensor technology with 2-layer transistor pixel that widens dynamic range and reduces noise by approximately doubling saturation signal level".
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"[The] new architecture is an advancement in stacked CMOS image sensor technology. Using [our] proprietary stacking technology, [we] packaged the photodiodes and pixel transistors on separate substrates stacked one atop the other," writes the tech company.
Conventional CMOS image sensors pack photodiodes and pixel transistors side by side on the same substrate. Sony's new technology will separate them and stack them on top of each other. "The new stacking technology enables adoption of architectures that allow the photodiode and pixel transistor layers to each be optimized, thereby approximately doubling saturation signal level relative to conventional image sensors and, in turn, widening dynamic range," claims the company.
The hardware maker also said that the new arrangement frees up space to fit in a larger amp transistor. A larger amp transistor can substantially reduce noise in nighttime and dark-location images.
"The widened dynamic range and noise reduction available from this new technology will prevent underexposure and overexposure in settings with a combination of bright and dim illumination (e.g., backlit settings) and enable high-quality, low-noise images even in low-light settings, further explained the tech company.
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