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New Sensor Combines CMOS and CCD

Photonics Spectra
Dec 1997
Charles T. Troy

DALLAS -- Engineers at Texas Instruments have combined the performance features of the charge-coupled device (CCD) and the manufacturing advantages of the complementary metal oxide semiconductor (CMOS) to produce what they call the bulk charge modulated device imaging sensor.
The company believes the combination offers a price and performance advantage that will accelerate the growth of PC-based applications.
TI's Patrick Garvey told Photonics Spectra that the device provides a solution for applications where low-cost, high-quality images are needed. It could be the choice for all but the most demanding applications where CCD technology holds an edge in image quality, Garvey said.
TI plans to incorporate the technology into nonscientific cameras where price is a factor. The company estimates that these systems would fall in the middle of the price range -- less than CCDs, but more than the CMOS.
According to TI's Ari Reubin, the company's history of producing CCD-based digital imaging sensors and its pioneering work in CMOS technology made the process of combining the two technologies a natural.
Reubin, director of digital image sensor products at TI, said that the sensors will resemble CCDs in high light sensitivity and low electrical noise. From the CMOS side, the new sensors will gain low-power requirements and support for the industry-standard 5 V of power.
Best of all, TI points out, because the device is based on CMOS common fabrication techniques, on-chip integration of other components becomes possible.

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