New image sensor sports backside illuminated pixels and improved quantum efficiency

October 30, 2017 | 11:03
ON Semiconductor has introduced a new 1/2.7-inch 2.3-megapixel CMOS digital image sensor with an active array of 1936 x 1188 pixels. According to the manufacturer, the new sensor — lovingly named AR0239 — is capable of producing clear and sharp digital images in challenging bright and low light conditions due to its improved near-infrared (NIR) quantum efficiency (QE).

Quantum efficiency of an image sensor

The QE of an image sensor is the fraction of photon flux that contributes to the current in a pixel, and is defined as the number of signal electrons created per incident photon.

AR0239 CMOS digital image sensor
Source: ON Semiconductor

Together with so-called Backside Illuminated (BSI) pixels, where pixels are constructed in such a way that the photosensitive layer is not obstructed by interpixel- and other connections as is the case in traditional sensors, the new sensor offers a 21% improvement in responsivity (i.e., electrical output per optical input, usually expressed as amperes or volts per watt of incident radiant power) and a 10% improvement in QE compared to its predecessor.

Housed in an iBGA package the sensor features a variety of sophisticated camera functions such as in-pixel binning and windowing, and it has an on-chip analog-to-digital converter (ADC). When operating in linear mode with a serial interface, the device offers fully HiSPi/MiPi compatible HD support up to 1080p at 90 fps. Two- or three-exposure 1080p HDR output is available at up to 30 fps.
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