Session 23 – Image Sensors
From electronics for the eye, we turn to electronic eyes.
I will make use of some creative accounting in an attempt to keep the list close to the five my editor requested. Even though last year's conference theme was sensing and a well known imaging guru served as the technical chair for ISSCC, it would be tough not to pick this session. If you have any doubt that Session 23 on Wednesday offers something for everyone, the presentations cover the spectrum from the largest to the smallest imaging arrays. First, consider the all-seeing Eye of Sauron presented by Yamashita et al from Canon. A 300mm Wafer-Size CMOS Image Sensor with In-Pixel Voltage-Gain Amplifier and Column-Level Differential Readout Circuitry. I attended the International Image Sensor Workshop in 2007 where Canon presented a similarly monstrous imager that could image an entire parking lot from over 200 meters atop a building while offering digital zoom capable of reading a license plate. The Canon wafer size imager presented at ISSCC 2011 is built for a different purpose with high sensitivity, variable pixel gain and 100 frames-per-second global shutter, but you begin to get the point that Canon is really good at building really big sensors.
On the other end of the spectrum, Johansson and colleagues from Aptina sites scattered around the globe including Norway, the UK, California and Oregon will present their tiny sensor in A 1/13-inch 30fps VGA SoC CMOS Image Sensor with Shared Reset and Transfer-Gate Pixel Control. This VGA array is only 1.77mm2, and the pixel sharing scheme claims to improve low-light performance.