Omnivision Nyxel-2 Technology Extends NIR QE to 50% @ 940nm and 70% @ 850nm

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PRNewswire: OmniVision announced Nyxel 2 — the second generation of its NIR technology. Despite launching the first generation more than two years ago, competing mass-produced CMOS image sensors are said to be still failing to achieve comparable NIR performance. Meanwhile, OmniVision’s R&D team has continued to refine its pixel architectures and processes to achieve new records in QE, with Nyxel 2 now providing a 25% improvement in the 940nm NIR light spectrum and a 17% bump at 850nm wavelength.

Nyxel 2 technology further extends OmniVision’s leadership in NIR image sensing,” said Lindsay Grant, SVP of process engineering at OmniVision. “Pushing the envelope of NIR performance opens new possibilities for applications that operate in near or total darkness, including more accurate driver-state monitoring, better surveillance capabilities for security systems and new under-display sensing applications for mobile devices.

Competing CMOS approaches for NIR image sensing continue to rely solely on thick silicon to improve NIR sensitivity. However, this results in cross-talk and impacts MTF. Attempts to overcome this by introducing DTI often lead to defects that corrupt the dark area of the image.

With Nyxel 2, OmniVision has further refined its approach to NIR imaging that combines thick-silicon pixel architectures with careful management of wafer surface texture to improve QE, along with extended DTI to retain the MTF levels of the first generation without affecting the sensor’s dark current.

With these refinements, OmniVision’s Nyxel 2 can now achieve 50% QE at 940nm — a 25% improvement over the first generation, as measured using data from a 2.9um pixel. At the 850nm NIR wavelength, Nyxel 2 can provide 70% QE, which is not only a 17% improvement over the first generation, but it is now on par with the QE levels of top RGB sensors that operate with visible light.

OmniVision’s first image sensors with Nyxel 2 technology are expected to be available during the second half of 2020.

For comparison, the first generation Nyxel announced in 2017 had a QE below:

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