MANHASSET, NY -- Charge coupled device sensors, long a bastion of image equipment, are losing their luster as CMOS image sensors have become dominant.
Shipments last year of CMOS sensors accounted for 92 percent of all area image sensors—an overwhelming share that translated into some 2.1 billion units, up 31 percent from 1.6 billion in 2010, according to an information and analysis provider IHS.
With the remaining 8 percent of the market, CCD sensor shipments in 2011 fell to 180.3 million units, down 2 percent from 184.5 million in 2010. In 2010, the CMOS share of the sensor market was 90 percent vs. 10 percent for CCD.
By 2015, CMOS shipments will amount to 3.6 billion units or 97 percent market share, compared to CCD shipments of just 95.2 million, or 3 percent.
Mobile handsets remain the dominant application for CMOS sensors, representing 79 percent of total CMOS shipments in 2011.
While CCDs are finding acceptance in the industrial markets and in digital still cameras, CCD use is declining. Among high-end digital single lens reflex cameras, for instance, CCD use will shrink from 12 percent in 2011 to just 1 percent by 2014
According to IHS’ recent report, the introduction of backside illumination technology was the break in camera technology that gave CMOS the edge over CCD.
The technology is found in high-end compact cameras as well in Apple’s iPhone 4S and various Android phones.
Projected to be in 56 percent of smartphones and higher-end feature handset camera phones during 2012, BSI sensors will be present in 92 percent of the same class of handsets by 2015 as prices come down, according to IHS.
Sony Corp. was the top player for overall image sensors during the fourth quarter, followed by OmniVision Technologies, Aptina Imaging Corp., Sharp Corp. and Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd.
Sony has developed its next-generation BSI sensor in a stacked structure that is expected to pave the way for faster speeds and lower power consumption. Samples will start shipping in March. Samsung ‘s 16Mpixel CMOS sensor will be making its way into smartphones and tablets later this year.
IHS iSuppli report has more details.