Panasonic Develops New Sensor Technology

February 9, 2017 | Zoltan Arva-Toth | Accessories | Comment | |
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Panasonic has developed a new technology, enabling electrical control of the near infrared (NIR) light sensitivity of the same pixel in an organic CMOS image sensor. This technology allows for switchning between modes of colour imaging and NIR imaging frame by frame, without the mechanical IR cut filter required for conventional image sensors. The sensitivity of all the pixels in the image sensor, which has directly stacked organic films, is simultaneously controlled by changing the applied voltage to the organic films. This technology also enables global shutter operation, the company says. Panasonic will present some part of these technologies at the international academic conference: ISSCC (International Solid-State Circuit Conference) 2017.

Panasonic Press Release

Panasonic: World's First*1 Organic CMOS Image Sensor with Electrically Controllable Near-Infrared Light Sensitivity

OSAKA, Japan -- (BUSINESS WIRE) -- Panasonic Corporation today announced that it has developed a new technology, electrical control of the near infrared (NIR) light sensitivity of the same pixel in an organic CMOS image sensor. The sensitivity of all the pixels in the image sensor, which has directly stacked organic films, is simultaneously controlled by changing the applied voltage to the organic films.

This technology enables to switch between modes of color imaging*2 and NIR imaging frame by frame without a mechanical IR cut filter required for conventional image sensors. This contributes to miniaturizing a camera system and improving the robustness. This technology also enables global shutter operation*3. Therefore, it can be suitable for applications in various fields of industry such as machine vision or intelligent transportation system, in which fast and accurate inspection or recognition are necessary.

The new technology has the following advantage:

Frame by frame switching between color imaging mode and NIR imaging mode without the loss of resolution.

The development is based on the following technologies.

The design technology of organic CMOS image sensors which enables to design the photoelectric conversion part and the readout circuit part independently.
The sensitivity control technology which enables frame by frame switching between color imaging mode and NIR imaging mode by changing the applied voltage to the photoelectric conversion part.

Panasonic holds 94 Japanese patents and 68 overseas patents (including pending) related to these technologies.

Panasonic will present some part of these technologies at the international academic conference: ISSCC (International Solid-State Circuit Conference) 2017 which is to be held in San Francisco on February 5 - February 9, 2017.

Notes:
*1: As of February 9, 2017, according to Panasonic data.
*2: The extinction ratio of NIR sensitivity at 800 nm was -28 dB.
*3: Previous report in ISSCC2016,
http://news.panasonic.com/global/press/data/2016/02/en160203-6/en160203-6.html

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