UMC develops enhanced CMOS image sensor process

Sunnyvale, California–UMC has developed an enhanced CMOS image sensor process, based on its generic mixed-mode process, to address the needs of today’s most sophisticated camera-on-a-chip designers that produce chips for high-end, still-life, and video digital cameras and scanners.

CMOS sensors now being fabricated with UMC’s sensor process are rapidly becoming a cost-effective replacement for competing charged coupled device (CCD) and other CMOS sensors, UMC reports.

When the sensor is integrated using emerging system-on-chip (SOC) methodology, the IC becomes a camera-on-a-chip with the ability to generate high-quality color images with small pixel sizes and high resolutions. UMC’s CMOS process has demonstrated integration of an analog to digital converter, digital image processor, and high-performance senor onto a chip.

UMC will be accepting design-ins for its 0.18-micron CMOS sensor, which will enable pixel sizes and high resolutions.

“Our solution is clearly unparalleled in the foundry space in its comparability to CCD, the key being exceptionally low dark current levels–as low as 65pA/cm2–that allow for high image quality regardless of light conditions,” says Jim Ballingall, UMC’s vice president of worldwide marketing. “The transition from CCD to UMC’s CMOS sensor process is further facilitated by the fact that changes in optics are not necessary, due to the small pixel sizes that are enabled by the process. Particularly exciting is the fact that this complements our offerings in advanced logic, mixed-signal, and micro-display technologies so that customers can access UMC for a complete digital camera solution.”


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