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  • Kodak, IBM to Develop Image Sensors
Sep 2004
ROCHESTER, N.Y., Sept. 16 -- Eastman Kodak Co. and IBM will collaborate, under a multiyear agreement, to develop and make image sensors to power mass-market consumer products, such as digital still cameras and camera phones.

Terms of the agreement were not disclosed. The effort will combine Kodak's image sensor technology and IBM's metal oxide semiconductor (CMOS) processing expertise, enabling Kodak to produce a new family of CMOS image sensor (CIS) devices, another step in its effort to accelerate its digital businesses.

Image sensors act as the "eye" of a digital camera by converting light into electric charges to begin the capture process. Kodak and IBM will collaborate on the manufacture of CIS devices with proprietary designs from Kodak that they say will significantly improve image quality and take advantage of the power, integration and cost benefits of CMOS-based sensors.

A key element of the joint Kodak/IBM CIS process is Kodak's unique CIS pixel technology, including its proprietary pinned photodiode and 4T cell architectures. These technologies, licensed to IBM as part of this agreement, permit the manufacture of CIS pixels that approach the size of the smallest CCD pixels offered today, with improved photosensitivity and lower noise. The new process also will use IBM manufacturing technologies, such as the 0.18-um CMOS copper manufacturing process already present at IBM's semiconductor facility in Burlington, Vermont, where the image sensors will be produced.

"IBM has a long history of extending the reach of its semiconductor technology and manufacturing innovation into new and emerging markets," said Tom Reeves, vice president of semiconductor products and solutions, IBM Systems & Technology Group. "By combining our chip technology capability with Kodak's sensor expertise, we are able to tailor our semiconductor manufacturing processes to produce industry-leading image sensors for Kodak."

"When combined with Kodak's recent acquisition of additional design resources and intellectual property from National Semiconductor Corp., these next-generation CIS devices will enable development of consumer products that can capture high-quality, multi-megapixel still images as well as 30-frame per second videos under low light photographic conditions," Kodak said in a statement.

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