TOKYO " CCD image sensors and CMOS sensors each have advantages, including CCD's higher sensitivity and lower power consumption for CMOS. Both characteristics are required for mobile applications.
Matsushita Electric Industrial Co. Ltd. is unveiling a new image sensor architecture that will serve as a kind of a MOS sensor. The company said it incorporates the advantages of both CCD and CMOS sensors.
Named "'(nu)MAICOVICON," the sensor offers lower power consumption than traditional CCD image sensors and the higher quality image production CMOS image sensors.
Matsushita will offer 1.3- and 2-megapixel sensors. Pixel size is 2.8 mm2, which is smaller than the industry's smallest 3.125 micron2 pixel size for mobile phones, said Matsushita. The 1.3-megapixel sensor has a 4.5-mm diagonal length for a 1/4-inch optical system. The 2-megapixel sensor measures 5.6-mm in diagonal length for a 1/3-inch optical system.
Though pixel size is small, the photosensitive area in each pixel is about three times larger than CMOS sensors and almost equal to CCD sensors. The sensor functions at the minimum illumination of 5 lux (lumens per meter2).
Many manufacturers are introducing CMOS sensors for mobile applications. Though Matsushita has been a major supplier of CCD sensors, it has so far not offered CMOS sensors. "CMOS sensors' low power consumption was attractive. Matsushita has been developing CMOS sensors and made many prototypes, but sensitivity and the capability of moving image capture were unsatisfactory. We decided to cover the application areas that CMOS sensors" handle with the '(nu)Maicovicon, said Susumu Koike, president of Matsushita's Semiconductor Co.
The new 1.3 megapixel sensor consumes 25 mW and 2 45mW for the 2 megapixel model, which is comparable to CMOS sensors while consuming only one-fifth the power required for a CCD image sensor with the same number of pixels.
Matsushita will begin volume production of 1.3 mega-pixel sensors in February with a monthly capacity of about 2 million units. Production of the 2-megapixel sensor will follow next month. The company intends to ramp up production volumes to 8 million units by the fall.