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  • Micron Technology Offers Megapixel CMOS Image Sensors

Photonics Spectra
Jan 2004
Micron Technology Inc. of Boise, Idaho, has announced the development of two- and three-megapixel CMOS image sensors. Previous products were aimed primarily at lower-end applications, but Micron is ramping up the color balance and light sensitivity in the new sensors to enable lower cost and higher image quality.

The DigitalClarity sensors, designed for use in digital still and video cameras and camcorders, are fabricated using low-leakage 0.15- or 0.18-µm DRAM processes. According to Shawn Maloney, senior director of marketing, the sensors have lower noise level, lower dark current, lower temporal noise and reduced light leakage for less crosstalk. In both sensors, the company is using four transistors in the design, rather than the traditional three.

The two-megapixel MT9D001 takes advantage of a 0.18-µm process, rather than the more common 0.25- to 0.35-µm process nodes. The 0.5-in. CMOS sensor features 4.2-µm pixels in a Bayer RGB pattern and incorporates camera-on-chip functions such as windowing, column and row skip, and snapshot mode. It outputs images at 20 fps and can capture images at 1 lux.

The three-megapixel MT9T001 uses a 0.15-µm process and features 3.2-µm pixels in a Bayer RGB pattern, resulting in a format of less than 0.5 in. Its video binning mode combines the signals across the array to produce XGA or VGA video at 30 fps. The sensor also has global pixel reset capability to set the exposure of an image, which can be synchronized with a mechanical shutter to end the exposure. It has the same on-chip camera functions as the MT9D001 and outputs 10 bits of RGB at 12 fps.

The two-megapixel sensor is in volume production, and the three-megapixel device is available in sample quantities. Micron plans to introduce higher-resolution products in the first half of the year as well as mobile megapixel sensors.

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