Toshiba Launches CMOS Image Sensor ICs that Realize CCD Quality Images

23 January, 2002

Tokyo--Toshiba Corporation today announced that it has reinforced its line-up of CMOS image sensor ICs with a series of four high-sensitivity devices that match the performance of charge-coupled devices (CCD). The launch is expected to solidify Toshiba's leadership in CMOS image sensors, which are fast becoming the device of choice for digital imaging on mobile phones and other personal digital equipment.

The new devices incorporate a photodiode double the size of Toshiba's current devices, and with double the sensitivity. This supports better performance in low light conditions, as does Toshiba's success in cutting leakage current, an advance that cuts the dark signal voltage to one-third that of present CMOS image sensors. An optimized analog-digital converter and pixel design also produce less noise and contribute to better image quality, realizing that the new devices match the performance of CCDs with a similar pixel count at minimum scene illumination levels as low as three lux.

Personal digital equipment, including portable PCs, PDAs and cellular phones, are all moving toward built-in video and still image capabilities. CMOS image sensors are widely used in such products, as they enjoy advantages in size and power consumption. Demand is growing for sensors offering higher levels of performance, a need that Toshiba meets with its new line-up. The new devices raise the benchmark for excellence in CMOS imaging and are expected to achieve widespread application.

Samples of the new devices will be available from February 2002 and mass production is slated to start in June 2002.

Outline of New ICs

  • Low leakage current photodiodes reduce dark signal voltage to 0.5mV, the industry's lowest voltage, and photodiode sensitivity is double that of current ones. As the result, minimum scene illumination is reduced to the low level of three lux.

  • Adoption a square pixel, each 5.4 x 5.4 microns, realized 330,000 pixels in a quarter inch optical format and 110,000 pixels in one-seventh inch optical format.

  • Integration of an AD converter circuit and signal generator and adoption of a leadless chip carrier package create a small package that can be integrated into products with no increase in size. Combination with Toshiba's TC90A70F digital signal processor, for VGA, or TC90A81F digital signal processor, for CIF, allows simple configuration of a camera system.

  • The industry's highest image quality for 110,000 and 330,000 pixel CMOS image sensors is realized by 10-bit processing for VGA systems and 9-bit processing for CIF.

Major Specifications

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