2017 Pixel Technology in Review

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TechInsights image sensor Senior Technical Analyst Ray Fontaine posts "Image Sensor Technology: Noteworthy Developments in 2017." The short article includes a lot of information:

"A noteworthy twist on Bayer RGB is Samsung’s TetraCell and OmniVision’s 4-Cell strategy for high resolution front-facing cameras. This strategy enables in-pixel binning for greater sensitivity (with lower resolution) for low-lit scenes.

...as we end 2017 we are happy to announce we have found 0.9 µm generation pixels in mass production!

...we are tracking new types of associated autofocus (AF) systems, including: laser-assist, lossless phase detection autofocus (PDAF) in 1.0 µm telephoto camera chips, new types of masked PDAF, etc. Samsung is notable for its preference of a dual photodiode (Dual Pixel) AF system that is successful in its own right, and does not currently require laser-assist AF.

...we still primarily see TSV-based chip-to-chip interconnect, although Sony has been using direct bond interconnects (Cu-Cu hybrid bonding, or DBI) since early 2016. We recently saw OmniVision and foundry partner TSMC join the hybrid bonding club and claim the new world record, based on TechInsights’ findings, of 1.8 µm diameter, 3.7 µm pitch DBI pads.

...we’ve tracked in 2017 is the continued emergence of cameras with improved near infrared (NIR) sensitivity... We’re also analyzing the structures from new process flows in use, such as the pyramid surface diffraction structures on the SmartSens SC5035. Sony has previously announced a similar approach, and we expect a comparable structure in use for OmniVision’s announced Nyxel platform.
"

Samsung 0.9 µm ISOCELL Pixel with Tetracell Color Filters
STM SOI IR Sensor from Apple iPhone X

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