TOKYO In a race to shrink images sensors for use in camera phone applications, Sanyo Electric Co. Ltd. said it has developed a megapixel CCD image sensor with the industry's smallest pixels, the company claimed.
"More than 90 percent of newly introduced mobile phones have camera functions in Japan. Camera phones have become the standard phones in Japan, and this tendency is spreading overseas," said Toru Watanabe, general manager of CCD Business unit at Sanyo Semiconductor Co.
The Sanyo sensor has pixels measuring 2.7 x 2.7 microns. The sensor is offered as a camera module dubbed as HyperEye IGT99353M-ST, which will sample this month. The module consists of the 1 megapixel 1/4.5-inch frame-transfer CCD image sensor, three plastic lenses with a mechanical shutter and a multichip package housing analog and digital ICs. The module integrates full camera functions with a mechanical shutter in a 7.6 mm package, the lowest profile among CCD camera modules, Sanyo said.
Sanyo used a mechanical shutter for the module. The costly shutter is not popular in mobile phone applications because it also increases volume and decreases reliability. "We wanted to use the shutter to make the frame-transfer CCD smear-free. Thanks to the frame transfer sensor structure, the sensor is thinner than other format sensors, so the height of module including the shutter is smaller than modules using other format sensors," said Watanabe.
Power consumption totaled 120 mW when shooting VGA resolution video at 7.5 frames per second. At 15 frames per second, it rises to nearly 160 mW. Even CMOS sensor-based modules dissipate about 200 mW, so power consumption ramains competitive, said Watanabe.
Sanyo has been offering CIF and VGA CCD sensors that feature single source voltage. Inheriting the feature, the megapixel module also features a single 2.9V source voltage.
Sanyo is now manufacturing 2.5 million CCD image sensors for mobile cameras a month. Adding the megapixel CCD sensors to its product portfolio, monthly production will soon ramp up to 3 million units.