Assorted News: CIS Fabs Capacity, Espros, Artilux

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China Money Network: "As reported previously, the current CIS is mainly divided into mobile phones and security. Among them, mobile phones are basically manufactured using a 12-inch 55nm process, and security chips are manufactured using a 0.11um eight-inch process. In terms of domestic wafer foundries, SMIC, Huahong Grace and XMC are among the big players. Recently, the newly established 12-inch factory, Guangzhou-based Cansemi Technology, has also won the favor of large local customers in CIS, and the company is introducing related product production.

According to a reporter from the Semiinsight who learned from friends in the relevant supply chain, with the tight production capacity of these fabs, the wafer delivery date of related CIS chips has been extended to four months, and the time required for packaging increases two to three weeks.

In addition, the popularity of under-screen optical fingerprint solutions using the same process as CIS has exacerbated this phenomenon. "Because the Die Size of the under-screen optical sensor is relatively large, the number of Dies that are originally cut per wafer is limited. The increasing demand makes the supply of CIS more stretched". "To today’s CIS manufacturer, who has the factory capacity, who is the boss," a supply chain insider said to Semiinsight reporter in an interview.
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Espros announces ToF Developers Conference to be held in San Francisco on January 28–30, 2020:

"Over the past four conferences, we have trained more than 130 engineers to successfully design TOF camera systems. Due to the high demand, we have decided to continue our TOF Developer Conference.

There is, at least to our knowledge, no engineering school which addresses TOF and LiDAR as an own discipline. We at ESPROS decided to fill the gap with a training program called TOF Developer Conference. The objective is to provide a solid theoretical background, a guideline to working implementations based on examples and practical work with TOF systems. Thus, the TOF Developer Conference shall become the enabler for electronics engineers (BS and MS in EE engineering) to design working TOF systems. It is ideally for engineers who are or will be, involved in the design of TOF system. We hope that our initiative helps to close the gap between the desire of TOF sensors to massively deployed TOF applications.
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PRNewswire: Artilux unveils world's first GeSi wide spectrum ToF sensor at CES 2020. The demo, being shown live for the first time, will include a RGB-D camera for logistics applications and robot vision, and a 3D camera system that can operate at a longer wavelength. The sensor is projected to enter mass production in Q1 2020 and targets applications such as mobile devices, automotive LiDAR, and machine vision.

In contrast to existing 3D sensors, which typically operate at 850nm or 940nm, the GeSi sensor can cover the range from 850nm to 1550nm. By utilizing this capability, the new Explore Series sensor substantially reduces the potential risk of eye damage. According to the most recent findings, the power of the laser can safely be at least 10 times greater at 1200-1400nm than at 940nm, which improves performance without compromising on safety for long range and highly accurate 3D imaging; it also means that the safe minimum distance of the laser from the eye can be further reduced to sub-centimeter, following the international standards IEC 60825-1:2007 and IEC 60825-1:2014.

The use of longer NIR wavelengths also minimizes interference from sunlight and enables better performance in outdoor environments. All the breakthroughs are brought about by a new GeSi technology platform developed by Artilux in cooperation with TSMC, enabling it to be the first CMOS-based ToF solution to work with light wavelengths up to 1.55µm. A paper that addresses the sensor design based on a GeSi platform has recently been accepted by ISSCC 2020. Artilux has also updated its last year Arxiv.org paper with more recent data.

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