Archives for September 2018

Two CNES Workshops

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French Space Agency (CNES) announces Call for Abstracts for 2 workshops to be held in Toulouse:

Radiation effects on solid state optoelectronic detectors on November 27-28, 2018
Ultra-Violet Detectors and Instruments on November 28-29, 2018

"The goal is to bring together all the community to discuss the challenges to develop such sensors and instruments, to discuss previous mission lessons and to share about future projects.

Although the workshop is mostly oriented to space applications, this event is fully open to researchers/user working within other applications. Developers working on non-space applications dealing with the same topics (e;g; Astronomy, Medical Imaging, photolithography…) are equally welcome to participate to this Workshop.
"

The workshops also features 45min tutorials.

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Active Alignment Demo

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Trioptics publishes a Youtube video showing its ProCam active alighnemt system:

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ON Semi Unveils its First SiPM for LiDARs

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ON Semi publishes its first sensor for LiDARs, possibly coming from SensL acquisition:

"The RA−Series 16−pixel linear array from ON Semiconductor has been designed for automotive LiDAR applications. The array is a single monolithic sensor featuring 16 of ON Semicondcutor’s industry−leading silicon photomultiplier (SiPM) pixels. The SiPM is a single−photon sensitive, high internal gain sensor that has a responsivity of >30 kA/W at 905 nm and operates at a low bias of  less than 50 V."

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Image Sensors Americas Final Agenda

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Image Sensors Americas 2018 is to be held on October 11-12 in San Francisco, CA. The final agenda includes much many image sensor presentations than has been announced initially:
  • Key Challenges of Image Sensors for ADAS and ADS
    Ronald Mueller | CEO of Vision Markets of Associate Consultant of Smithers Apex
  • NASA Keynote Presentation | Image Sensors for Aerospace
    Shouleh Nikzad | Senior Research Scientist of NASA
  • The M&A and Funding Landscape for Image Sensor Companies
    Rudy Burger | Managing Partner of Woodside Capital Partners
  • State of the Art Uncooled InGaAs Short Wave Infrared Sensors
    Martin H. Ettenberg | President of Princeton Infrared Technologies
  • Super-Wide-Angle Cameras- The Next Smartphone Frontier Enabled by Miniature Lens Design and the Latest Sensors
    Patrice Roulet Fontani | Vice President,Technology and Co-Founder of ImmerVision
  • Integrated Photonics Technology: Driving the Evolution of Novel Image Sensors for LiDAR and THz imaging
    Bert Gyselinckx | Vice President & General Manager of Imec
  • SPAD vs. CMOS Image Sensor Design Challenges – Jitter vs. Noise
    Daniel Van Blerkom | CTO & Co-Founder of Forza Silicon
  • sCMOS Technology: The Most Versatile Imaging Tool in Science
    Scott Metzler | PCO Tech
  • Toward Monolithic Image Perception Devices (MIPD).
    Guy Paillet | co-Founder & CEO of General Vision Inc.
  • From The Outside In
    Richard Neumann | CEO of Sub2R
  • Using Depth Sensing Cameras for 3D Eye Tracking Sensing
    Kenneth Funes Mora | CEO and Co-founder of Eyeware
  • SPAD Arrays for LiDAR Applications
    Wade Appelman | VP of Sales and Marketing of SensL Technologies
  • Super High Sensitivity CMOS Image Sensors Technologies
    Eiichi Funatsu | Senior Director of OmniVision
  • Future Image Sensors for SLAM and Indoor 3D Mapping
    Vitaliy Goncharuk | CEO/Founder of Augmented Pixels
  • How to Keep Your Next Winning Sensor Design From Being Stifled By Your Test Strategy: Bench Testing v Automated Test Equipment
    Lauren Guajardo | Field Applications Engineering Leader of Teradyne
  • Future Trends in Imaging Beyond the Mobile Market
    Amos Fenigstein | Senior Director of R&D for Image Sensors of TowerJazz
  • Photon-Counting Imaging with Quanta Image Sensor for Scientific and Consumer Applications
    Jiaju Ma | CTO of Gigajot

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First Camera Module Factory in India

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FranchiseIndia, IndiaTimes, BusinessStandard: SYSKA Group (India), Biometronic Pte. (Singapore), and Suyin Optronics Corp. (Taiwan) partner to set up India’s first camera module factory in Noida. The total investment for the facility is $30m. The factory will have a clean room for production capacity of 5 million pieces per month.

The new factory will manufacture camera modules for mobile phones, automotive industry (Rear view camera), medical, security industry, and defense industry (Drones). Syska Group has 49% stake in the company whereas Biometronic has 41% stake and Suyin Optronics has 10% stake in the new entity.

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ON Semi X-Class Platform

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ON Semi explains its X-Class image sensor platform approach:

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Sudden Death of Arnaud Darmont

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EMVA informs that Arnaud Darmont, one of the main contributors to EMVA1288 camera characterization standars, has suffered a fatal accident during a trip in the US. Other than his major contribution to EMVA 1288 standard, Arnaud was a Chair of Image Sensors and Imaging Systems conference, and the owner of HDR imaging and EMVA-compliant measuring instruments company Aphesa.

Arnaud Darmont is the author of 2014 book on HDR imaging "High Dynamic Range Imaging: Sensors and Architectures" and delivered a number of courses on HDR around the world.

Reportedly, Arnaud had visited the White Sand National Monument in New Mexico. He died in the dune field due to severe sunstroke. Rangers found his body at the closure of the park last Wednesday.

Here is a Youtube video with Arnaud's interview in 2015:



Update: There are obituaries from SPIE, IMVE, and Photonics.

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GPixel 11um-Pixel Sensor in Moonless Night

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Russian KB VITA kindly sent me a video of its camera that uses GSENSE400BSI sensor. The video was shot at moonless night, hence no shadows there. The camera has f0.95 lens and set at 22fps and 40ms exposure time:



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Ultrafast Imaging at ULITIMA 2018

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ULITIMA 2018 forum held on Sept 11-14 at Argonne National Laboratory, IL, was devoted to ultrafast imaging and particle tracking, novel data collection schemes through sparse sensing, hardware performance enhanced by computational and other novel methods, megahertz and gigahertz electronics, and their applications. Most of the presentations are available on-line.

Here is just a small sample of the interesting presentations:
  • Nanosecond, burst mode X-ray imager development at Sandia National Laboratories
    Claus Liam (Sandia)
  • Flat Optics
    Federico Capasso (Harvard)
  • Capturing Flying Light with a Silicon Image Sensor - A Step toward the Temporal Resolution Limit
    Takeharu Etoh (Ritsumeikan University)
  • An overview of recent novel focal-plane array development at Sandia National Laboratories
    Gideon Robertson (Sandia National Laboratory)
  • Diamond detectors for fast timing applications
    John Smedley (Brookhaven National Laboratory)
  • Development of monolithic sensors for high energy physics in commercial CMOS technologies
    Walter Snoeys (CERN)
  • Fast imagers with time stamping of optical photons
    Andrei Nomerotski (Brookhaven National Laboratory)
  • CMOS imaging sensors and prospects for high-speed applications
    Eric Fossum (Dartmouth University)

Thanks to EF for the link!

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Ultrafast Imaging at ULTIMA 2018

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ULTIMA 2018 forum held on Sept 11-14 at Argonne National Laboratory was devoted to ultrafast imaging and particle tracking, novel data collection schemes through sparse sensing, hardware performance enhanced by computational and other novel methods, megahertz and gigahertz electronics, and their applications. Most of the presentations are available on-line.

Here is just a small sample of the interesting presentations:
  • Nanosecond, burst mode X-ray imager development at Sandia National Laboratories
    Claus Liam (Sandia)
  • Flat Optics
    Federico Capasso (Harvard)
  • Capturing Flying Light with a Silicon Image Sensor - A Step toward the Temporal Resolution Limit
    Takeharu Etoh (Ritsumeikan University)
  • An overview of recent novel focal-plane array development at Sandia National Laboratories
    Gideon Robertson (Sandia National Laboratory)
  • Diamond detectors for fast timing applications
    John Smedley (Brookhaven National Laboratory)
  • Development of monolithic sensors for high energy physics in commercial CMOS technologies
    Walter Snoeys (CERN)
  • Fast imagers with time stamping of optical photons
    Andrei Nomerotski (Brookhaven National Laboratory)
  • CMOS imaging sensors and prospects for high-speed applications
    Eric Fossum (Dartmouth University)

Thanks to EF for the link!

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Report: Apple ToF Camera is Not Good Enough for AR Experience in iPhone

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Macrumors and Appleinsider quote KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo saying in its investor note that 2019 iPhones will not include a rear ToF camera:

"First, the distance and depth information provided by rear-side ToF is currently insufficient for creating the "revolutionary AR experience" that Apple ultimately wants to develop.

Second, the addition of rear-side ToF would do little to improve the iPhone's photo-taking capabilities, because the current dual-camera setup is already capable of capturing or simulating enough distance/depth information to make photo-features like Portrait Mode a reality.
"

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Multi-Collection-Gate 25 Mfps Sensor

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MDPI publishes a joint paper by Vietnam National University, Hanoi University of Science and Technology, Imec, Ritsumeikan University, and Kindai University "An Image Signal Accumulation Multi-Collection-Gate Image Sensor Operating at 25 Mfps with 32 × 32 Pixels and 1220 In-Pixel Frame Memory" by Vu Truong Son Dao, Nguyen Ngo, Anh Quang Nguyen, Kazuhiro Morimoto, Kazuhiro Shimonomura, Paul Goetschalckx, Luc Haspeslagh, Piet De Moor, Kohsei Takehara, and Takeharu Goji Etoh.

"The paper presents an ultra-high-speed image sensor for motion pictures of reproducible events emitting very weak light. The sensor is backside-illuminated. Each pixel is equipped with multiple collection gates (MCG) at the center of the front side. Each collection gate is connected to an in-pixel large memory unit, which can accumulate image signals captured by repetitive imaging. The combination of the backside illumination, image signal accumulation, and slow readout from the in-pixel signal storage after an image capturing operation offers a very high sensitivity. Pipeline signal transfer from the the multiple collection gates (MCG) to the in-pixel memory units enables the sensor to achieve a large frame count and a very high frame rate at the same time. A test sensor was fabricated with a pixel count of 32 × 32 pixels. Each pixel is equipped with four collection gates, each connected to a memory unit with 305 elements; thus, with a total frame count of 1220 (305 × 4) frames. The test camera achieved 25 Mfps, while the sensor was designed to operate at 50 Mfps."

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Yole on Image Sensors Past, Present, and Future

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Yole Developpement article "Image sensors have hugely benefited from Apple’s avant-garde strategy" by Pierre Cambou overviews image sensing history and possible future trends:

"We are now in the middle of a golden age for the CIS industry.

As the smartphone industry itself reaches a plateau, it is the perfect time for Apple to bring to market a new user interface based on 3D sensing CIS. It’s therefore not a surprise if this year’s keynote expands on the ideas presented in the iPhone X one year ago.

The future is definitely in the 3D touchless interactions demonstrated last year, first for biometric identifications, but not just that. Animojis, avatars and augmented reality filters are at the center of the new experience. All other smartphone producers are racing to match the functionality, and it will probably take another year before they do. Announcements from Xiomi, Oppo and Vivo have all indicated that the Chinese companies are particularly keen to join Apple on the 3D sensing strategy.

We are entering a new cycle of interactive devices. Smartphones are just one aspect to it. At Yole Développement we expect it will have deep impacts on the electronic industry more generally. It will give a new boost to consumer markets for smart assistants, smart home devices and consumer robotics, and possibly wearables. More importantly, the technology will have also deep implications in the security and automotive industries. This is part of the new paradigm shift toward sensing, and it is interesting to notice that Apple was the innovator in both previous shifts.
"

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Review of Graphene-based Light Sensing Approaches

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Arxiv.org: University of Exeterm UK, publishes a review paper "Graphene-based light sensing: fabrication, characterisation, physical properties and performance" by Adolfo De Sanctis, Jake D. Mehew, Monica F. Craciun, and Saverio Russo.

"Graphene and graphene-based materials exhibit exceptional optical and electrical properties with great promise for novel applications in light detection. However, several challenges prevent the full exploitation of these properties in commercial devices. Such challenges include the limited linear dynamic range (LDR) of graphene-based photodetectors, the lack of efficient generation and extraction of photoexcited charges, the smearing of photoactive junctions due to hot-carriers effects, large-scale fabrication and ultimately the environmental stability of the constituent materials. In order to overcome the aforementioned limits, different approaches to tune the properties of graphene have been explored. A new class of graphene-based devices has emerged where chemical functionalisation, hybridisation with light-sensitising materials and the formation of heterostructures with other 2D materials have led to improved performance, stability or versatility. For example, intercalation of graphene with FeCl3 is highly stable in ambient conditions and can be used to define photo-active junctions characterized by an unprecedented LDR while graphene oxide (GO) is a very scalable and versatile material which supports the photodetection from UV to THz frequencies. Nanoparticles and quantum dots have been used to enhance the absorption of pristine graphene and to enable high gain thanks to the photogating effect. In the same way, hybrid detectors made from stacked sequences of graphene and layered transition-metal dichalcogenides enabled a class of detectors with high gain and responsivity. In this work we will review the performance and advances in functionalised graphene and hybrid photodetectors, with particular focus on the physical mechanisms governing the photoresponse in these materials, their performance and possible future paths of investigation."

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Yole CIS Market Report

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Yole Developpement releases "Status of the CMOS Image Sensor Industry 2018" report:

"2017 saw aggregated CIS industry revenue of $13.9B. We now forecast a 9.4% compound annual growth rate (CAGR) for the next five years. Year-on-year (YoY) growth hit a peak at 20% due to the exceptional increase in image sensor value, across almost all markets, but primarily in the mobile sector.

The market has benefited from the operational recovery of leading CIS player Sony, which captured 42% market share. The CIS industry is able to grow at the speed of the global semiconductor industry, which also had a record year, mainly due to DRAM revenue growth.

The key takeaway from 2017 has been the rapid deployment of dual camera approaches in the mobile sector. The market has quickly adopted dual cameras on the rear of the phones, serving photography either to improve resolution and low light performance or to provide optical zoom capabilities. Dual camera approaches have also been deployed on the front side, mostly serving biometric face or iris recognition, but also 3D sensing in the Apple iPhone X. Competition and differentiation between mobile device manufacturers is deeply linked to CIS implementation. CIS has therefore benefited from ever-increasing dollar content per smartphone, compensating for the mobile market slowdown.

Security is now one of the most active markets, tightly connected to Chinese involvement in the industry. Hikvision and Dahua are the two new leading OEM manufacturers, having capitalized very quickly on internet protocol (IP) camera technology, cloud computing and artificial intelligence. The number of cameras per security system isn’t limited by human monitoring any more, which is a paradigm shift for surveillance. In automotive the same is occurring, as rear back-up cameras have become mandatory in the US.

Sony is the unchallenged industry leader market and technology-wise. It benefited from the operational recovery of the Kuamoto foundry after the major earthquake of 2016. This helped Sony’s market share increase, on top of the CIS market’s rapid growth. Samsung is also maintaining its growth, and is now able to match most of Sony’s technology advancements in 3D stacking. This mostly serves Samsung’s handset division, but it’s increasingly supporting Chinese OEMs in a constrained environment for high-end Mobile CIS. Omnivision seems to have completed its transition toward continental China, with HLMC now producing one third of its products, and is capturing good revenue in automotive. The next logical step would be to expand its early successes in the near-infrared (NIR) Global Shutter device designed into the Intel Realsense products, which unfortunately suffered from shrinking computing business.

STMicroelectronics stole the show at the end of 2017 by capturing the slot in the newly released iPhone X with an innovative NIR Global shutter based on a silicon-on-insulator (SOI) substrate. ON Semiconductor has become the key player in automotive despite growing competition from Sony and Samsung. Growth in its Industrial division helped mitigate decreasing volumes of action and drone camera products. On the CIS foundry side, HLMC has benefited from the production transfer from Omnivision and TPSCo similarly from ON Semiconductor. Hynix is apparently locked in a conundrum prioritizing DRAM over CIS. SMIC similarly has to invest in the next generation technology and is in transition. Probably the last key aspect of this year’s status of CIS is China’s positive progress. Having built a consistent ecosystem incorporating CIS foundries, CIS vendors and high growth system manufacturers, China CIS ecosystem will become more important in the future.
"

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SEMI on Imaging Trends

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SEMI publishes a video its webinar "Catching up on European MEMS, Sensors & Imaging Trends and Technology." Few slides from imaging part of the presentation:

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poLight Announces IPO at Oslo Stock Exchange

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Oslo Bors stock exchange reports that poLight ASA announces its intention to launch an IPO of its shares and to apply for a listing on Oslo Børs, alternatively Oslo Axess.

The company's TLens technology is said to offer considerable benefits, such as extremely fast focus, compact xy-dimension, no electromagnetic interference, low power consumption, and constant field of view.

Currently the Company has three ongoing proof-of-concept ("PoC") projects related to smartphones. One of the ongoing PoC projects is with a Tier 1 mobile OEM testing the TLens for use in a high-end front camera, while
the other two PoC projects are with Tier 2 and Tier 3 OEMs also testing the TLens for front camera applications. The Company believes more PoC projects with smartphone OEMs will be initiated in the coming months.

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Kingpak Reports Sharp Rise of Sony Automotive Sensor Orders

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Digitimes: Packaging house Kingpak will complete the first phase of its capacity expansion by the end of 2018 to satisfy growing demand for automotive image sensors, according to newspaper's sources. Kingpak orders for auto CIS packaging from Sony ramp up fast. The orders from Sony are expected to boost Kingpak's sales generated from the auto sector to 70% as a proportion of company revenues in 2018, the sources said.

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Apple Adds Depth Computation Features to the New iPhone Cameras

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Cnet: Apple event has a number of camera news in the oncoming iPhone models, including a dedicated depth engine that allows various depth calculations with the rear dual camera:

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Plasmonic Color Filter Paper

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OSA Optics Express publishes Shizuoka University paper "Multi-band plasmonic color filters for visible-to-near-infrared image sensors" by Atsutaka Miyamichi, Atsushi Ono, Hiroki Kamehama, Keiichiro Kagawa, Keita Yasutomi, and Shoji Kawahito.

"We propose a plasmonic color filter consisting of a single aperture surrounded by concentric periodic corrugations for simultaneous imaging of a spectral range from the visible to the near-infrared. The incident light coupled with surface plasmons propagates through the sub-wavelength aperture as beaming light. The beaming light transmission is able to suppress the spatial color cross-talk between the pixels in an image sensor. We analyzed the transmission characteristics of a plasmonic color filter with periodic corrugations in a silver thin film by using the finite-difference time-domain algorithm. We demonstrated a multi-band transmission wavelength selectivity, of about 100 nm, for the spectral bandwidth ranging from visible to near-infrared. The simultaneous discrimination of visible and near-infrared light with a high color purity by the plasmonic color filter achieves both improved image recognition and smaller system-size compared with conventional systems, which is particularly important for applications such as vehicle-mounted cameras, security, and biological tissue engineering."

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Tamron 17-35mm f2.8-4 review

Cameralabs        Go to the original article...

The Tamron 17-35mm f2.8-4 is a small, light and wide zoom available for Canon and Nikon DSLR mounts. To find out how it performs. Thomas tested it against Tamron's own 15-30mm f2.8, Nikon's 18-35mm f3.5-4.5 and Tokina's 17-35mm f4. If you're looking for a wide-zoom for a full-frame body check out his Tamron 17-35mm review!…

The post Tamron 17-35mm f2.8-4 review appeared first on Cameralabs.

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More Autosens Presentations on LiDAR

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Autosens publishes "Global M&A in the ADAS and Autonomous technology space" presentation by Rudy Burger, Managing Partner, Woodside Capital. One of the claims is that there are too many LiDAR companies and too much investment in LiDAR technology:


Newsight Imaging is presenting its Enhanced Time-Of-Flight (eToF) LiDAR:

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AEye Presents its Adaptive Scanning LiDAR

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AutoSens Detroit publishes Aeye VP of Engineering, Barry Behnken, presentation of the adaptive scanning iDAR. Aeye says that in SNR-starved environment, it does not make sense to spend the precious laser photons on "uninteresting" objects, such as sky, empty road, top floors of buildings, etc. Rather, the company proposes to concentrate them on the object that a regular 2D camera points as "interesting." The 2D camera info can be combined with other sources of info, such as radar, ultrasonic sensors, GPS, etc.


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Himax Rebukes Motley Fool

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GlobeNewsWire: Himax responds "to a false and misleading article, Why Himax Technologies Is Struggling, published by Motley Fool, an online stock commentary blog, dated September 6, 2018. The article has subsequently been picked up by major public portals such as Nasdaq, Yahoo Finance, etc, and spread out in the investor community. The Company cautions investors that the Motley Fool article contains false and misleading information."

The original Motley Fool article has been removed, as of now, but Yahoo Finance still has its copy. The article speculates that Himax 3D imaging initiatives will not be successful in the long run and questions whether Himax WLO would stay in the next iPhone 3D camera.

The company responds: "Himax expects its WLO shipment to its anchor customer will increase substantially throughout the second half of this year and represent significant growth versus 2H17 and sequentially, versus the first half of 2018. Contributing to its growth expectations, Himax citied its strong pipeline of new WLO R&D projects with the anchor customer and other tier-1 customers.

For Android smartphones, Himax also believes its recently announced Active Stereo Camera (ASC) 3D sensing solution, jointly developed with MediaTek and Megvii for mass market models, and the Qualcomm/Himax jointly developed structured light 3D sensing solution for high end smartphone models will facilitate a broader adoption of 3D sensing on Android smartphones during 2019. The Company targets to begin 3D sensing product shipment towards the end of the year or early 2019 with major ramp in 2019.
"

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Synopsys Sub-Micron Color Filter Presentation

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Synopsys demos the capabilities of its RSoft silicon photonics simulation platform using CFA as an example:

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Sony Global Shutter Sensor Family Grows to APS-C Size

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Sony publishes flyers of 6 new global shutter sensors based on 3.45um pixels: IMX367LLA, IMX342LQA, IMX392LQR, IMX305LQR, IMX304LLR/LQR, IMX267LLR/LQR. The new sensors span from 2.35MP 1/2.3-inch IMX392LLR/LQR to 31.5MP APS-C IMX342LLA/LQA:

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Automotive LiDAR Technologies Review

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Tematys presentation at Swiss Photonics event in June 2018 attemps to answer on question "Which LIDAR technology(ies) will win the race towards autonomous driving?"

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Valeo LED Flicker Tutorial

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AutoSens publishes Valeo Senior Expert on Image Quality, Brian Deegan, presentation on LED flicker, based on the his paper here:

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Canon Releases 2MP Full-Frame Sensor into Production

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Nikkei: A long time Canon research project, the full-frame 2MP sensor with 19um pixels, has been finally released into production. The new 35MMFHDXSCA is targeted at astronomical observation, monitoring of a natural disaster, industrial use, etc.

One of the features of the new sensor is a reduced dark current at low temperature: "By devising the driving method of the peripheral circuit, this product realizes reduction of dark current noise that still occurs even in low temperature condition. This makes it possible to use it for astronomical observation of a star with a slight brightness on the order of 10 stars and so on."

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Counterpoint on Automotive CIS Market Shares

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Counterpoint Research publishes its estimation on automotive image sensor market shares: "The automotive camera sensor market is consolidated with ON Semiconductors accounting for around 50% of market share, followed by Omnivision, Sony and Toshiba, each accounting for 12-18% of market share. Other important players in the market includes Gentex and Melexis. The competition in the market is increasing with players introducing technologically advanced sensors."

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