MIGDAL HAEMEK, Israel -- Tower Semiconductor Ltd. here today announced it is in production of 0.35-micron CMOS image sensors with a signal-to-noise ration of 80 dB. The foundry company claimed the 0.35-micron process technology enables the devices to achieve higher resolution in smaller physical size.
The smaller line widths also improve image quality, said Tower, which is targeting the sensors at demanding applications, such as digital photography and medical imaging.
Sensors manufactured using Tower technology feature record-highelectro-optical performance, compared to other CMOS imagers currently on the market, claimed Ron Brunwasser, director of Tower's CMOS image sensor (CIS) business line.
Independent testing measured dark current below 200 electrons per second. This value represents an extremely high signal-to-noise (S/N) ratio of over 80 dB, enabling imagers with very high sensitivity and photo-grade image quality.
"Tower's 0.35-micron process responds to our customers' requests for smaller pixel size and more complex logic, while maintaining the ultra-low dark current we offered in our high-performance 0.50 micron CIS devices," said Brunwasser. "Our goal is to . . . carry these capabilities to 0.18 micron technology generation in our planned new fab by 2002."
CMOS image sensors are a major strategic initiative of the Israeli semiconductor foundry. Tower Semiconductor, which has struggled against the foundry giants such as Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. and United Microelectronics Corp., has made CMOS image sensors and flash memory the cornerstone of its niche-foundry strategy (see Feb. 1 story).