LONDON – Sony Corp. (Tokyo, Japan) has announced that it plans to spend about 80 billion yen (about $1 billion) by September 2013 to expand its manufacturing capacity for stacked CMOS image sensors.
The investment in Sony Semiconductor's Nagasaki wafer fab, includes 45 billion yen already assigned to capex in the current financial year that ends on March 31, 2013, will increase Sony's production capacity for image sensors to 60,000 wafers per month.
Stacked CMOS image sensors attach the back-illuminated sensors on to ICs that perform signal processing, rather than using substrates to support both the back-illuminated CMOS image sensors and processing IC. Stacked CMOS image sensors smaller sized of image sensors and allow more compact size for digital cameras and mobile devices, Sony said.
The billion-dollar spend is intended to solidify Sony's position as the largest maker of CMOS image sensors and address the rapidly increasing demand for image sensors for use in smartphones and tablet computers, Sony said.
Sony will benefit from a government subsidy that will be provided by the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry in Japan, through the "Subsidy for Domestic Location Promotion Projects" program. Sony did not indicate the size of the subsidy.
Sony Semiconductor's Nagasaki Technology Center
Sony has 200-mm wafer production lines for CMOS images sensors at Kagoshima and Nagasaki and the company also outsources CMOS image sensor production to foundries. For the purposes of calculating the monthly output production has been recalculated to 300-mm diameter wafer equivalents.
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