5 CMOS Sensor Companies Order 34 Inspection Machines from Camtek

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PRNewswire: Camtek has received orders for 34 systems for 2D inspection of CMOS sensors from five leading manufacturers, of which 25 are from two customers. Most of the orders are expected to be installed during the first half of 2020.

Ramy Langer, COO, comments, "Our longstanding expertise in inspection technologies designed specifically for the CMOS image sensors market, makes the EagleT and EagleT Plus the ultimate inspection tools for this market."

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1 Tera-fps Camera Needed to Observe Signal Travel through Neurons

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Optics.org: Science Magazine paper "Picosecond-resolution phase-sensitive imaging of transparent objects in a single shot" by Taewoo Kim, Jinyang Liang, Liren Zhu, and Lihong V. Wang from Caltech says that fast frame speed is needed to study some biology processes:

"As signals travel through neurons, there is a minute dilation of nerve fibers that we hope to see. If we have a network of neurons, maybe we can see their communication in real time," Professor of Medical Engineering and Electrical Engineering Lihong Wang says.

"Here, we present phase-sensitive compressed ultrafast photography (pCUP) for single-shot real-time ultrafast imaging of transparent objects by combining the contrast of dark-field imaging with the speed and the sequence depth of CUP. By imaging the optical Kerr effect and shock wave propagation, we demonstrate that pCUP can image light-speed phase signals in a single shot with up to 350 frames captured at up to 1 trillion frames per second. We expect pCUP to be broadly used for a vast range of fundamental and applied sciences."

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Samsung-Corephotonics Unveils Foveated Automotive Camera

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Smartphone folded-zoom lens and multi-camera solutions developer Corephotonics acquired by Samsung a year ago, announces its first product since the acquisition - Roadrunner automotive camera:


Thanks to AB for the pointer!

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Omnivision Aims to Close the Gap with Sony and Samsung and Lead the Market in 1 Year

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IFNews quotes Laoyaoba interview with Omnivision's SVP of Global Sales Wu Xiaodong giving a lot of interesting info about the company plans:
  • Omnivision's 64MP high-end smartphone sensor is expected to enter mass production soon this year
  • Although in terms of global market share Omnivision ranks third with 12.4%, it scores first with 48% share in security, second with 30% share in autonomous vehicles, first with 50% in computing, first with 48% in emerging businesses such as IoT, and first with 81% share on medical CIS market
  • From 2018 to 2019, the overall CIS market size grew at AAGR of 20%. After 2020, AAGR is expected to go down to 10%.
  • In the end of August 2019, Will Semi has completed the acquisition of Omnivision and Superpix and officially renamed them to Omnivision Group
  • Omnivision Group currently has more than 2,000 customers, with annual chip shipments exceeding 13 billion.
  • Omnivision has R&D centers in the US, Japan, Europe, China, and Singapore.
  • So far, Omnivision employs a total of 1,300 engineers and has more than 4,000 patents.
  • Omnivision Group cooperates with TSMC, SMIC, Huali (HLMC), Dongfang (DDF), and other foundries.
"In the past, our gap [with Sony and Samsung has been,] may be, about one year. Last year, we were half a year behind, and our goal is to achieve new products to be leveled this year, and to achieve a lead next year," says Wu Xiaodong.

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IRNova on LWIR Polarimetric Imaging

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As mentioned in comments, Sweden-based IRNova publishes an application note "Polarimetric QWIP infrared imaging sensor" talking about its Garm LW Pol camera.

"Quantum well infrared photodetectors (QWIP) are by design inherently suited for polarization sensitive imaging. The detection principle in regular QWIPs relies on etched 2-D gratings to couple the light to the quantum wells for absorption. By replacing the 2D gratings with 1D (lamellar) gratings polarization sensitivity is added to the thermal detection.

Thermal imaging is a great way to detect objects, but it requires the objects to be of different temperature or to have different emissivity than the background. Polarization detection further extends the possibility to differentiate between objects that have the same temperature but consist of different materials, since infrared polarized light can be generated by reflection or emission of radiation from planar surfaces. This allows for detecting objects that are previously undetectable by an infrared detector since they may be covered under a canvas or they may have a low thermal signature like an UAV.
"

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Event-Based News: Prophesee, Inivation, Samsung

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EETimes publishes Junko Yoshida's interview with Luka Verre, Prophesee CEO. Few quotes:

"The commercial product we have is a VGA sensor. It’s in mass production. We are currently deploying shipping for industrial applications.

We have a new sensor generation, which is an HD sensor, so one million pixels, 720p. This is the result of joint cooperation we have done with Sony, which will be published at ISEC [ISSCC, probably] in February in San Francisco.

There has been some research work done together with Sony. Yes, Sony is indeed interested in event-based technology, but unfortunately I cannot tell you more than that. One of the main challenges we have been solving, moving from the VGA sensor to the HD sensor is the capability now to stack the sensor, to use a very advanced technology node that enables us to reduce the pixel pitch. So to make actually the sensor much smaller and cost-effective.

Automotive remains one of the key verticals we are targeting, because our technology, event-based technology, shows clear benefit in that space with respect to low latency detection, low data rate and high dynamic range.

...we did some tests in some controlled environments with one of the largest OEMs in Europe, and we compared side by side the frame-based sensor with an event-based sensor, showing that, while the frame-based camera system was failing evening in fusion with a radar system, our system was actually capable to detect pedestrians in both daylight conditions and night light conditions.
"


iniVation wins Best of Innovation award from the CES 2020 in the category ‘Embedded Vision’.

The award is for the company's newest product, the DVXplorer that uses an all-new custom-designed sensor from Samsung. DVXplorer is said to be the world’s first neuromorphic camera employing technologies suitable for mass-production applications.

Thanks to TL for the link!


Samsung's Hyunsurk Eric Ryu presented their event driven pixels at the 2nd International Workshop on Event-based Vision and Smart Cameras:

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NIT Presents 7.5um Pixel InGaAs SWIR Sensor

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New Imaging Technologies (NIT) is announces its first commercially available SWIR InGaAs sensor with a pitch of 7.5µm, resulting from several years of R&D development of an in-house hybridization process. This process does not use the classical indium bumps and allows manufacturing hybrid sensors with very small pitches with high yield at a reduced cost.

The first available component at 7.5µm pitch is a line array with the following characteristics:
  • Pixel Number: 2048
  • Pitch: 7.5µm
  • Line speed: 60KHz @ full line
  • Well Fill: 25 Ke-
  • Readout Noise: less than 70e-
  • Dark Current: 8 fA @ 15°C

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Omron Demos its People Recognition Sensor

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Inavate: Omron is to demo its second-generation digital signage body and face detection/face recognition system. The Human Vision Component HVC-P2 with OKAO Vision software features ten image sensing functions including body detection, face recognition, hand detection, age estimation, gender estimation, and expression estimation. The OKAO software can recognize faces up to 3m away and can detect a human body up to 17m away.

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Sony Automotive Sensors, LiDAR, ToF

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Sony publishes a video presenting its safety cocoon devices:

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FLIR Updates its Periodic Table of Image Sensors

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FLIR (former Point Grey) publishes an 2020 version of its Periodic Table of Image Sensors:

"Updated for 2020 - now with over 130 machine vision sensors, incluing third generation Sony Pregius and fourth generation Sony Pregius S global shutter sensors.

With so many sensors to choose from, we understand that it could be tricky to keep track of them. This handy chart organizes over 130 sensors from classic CCDs to the latest CMOS technology by resolution and speed. We suggest printing off this free poster and laminating it, then pinning it up on your wall for easy reference.
"


Thanks to TL for the link!

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Ge-on-Si SPAD LiDAR

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Optics Express paper "3D LIDAR imaging using Ge-on-Si single–photon avalanche diode detectors" by Kateryna Kuzmenko, Peter Vines, Abderrahim Halimi, Robert J. Collins, Aurora Maccarone, Aongus McCarthy, Zoë M. Greener, Jarosław Kirdoda, Derek C. S. Dumas, Lourdes Ferre Llin, Muhammad M. Mirza, Ross W. Millar, Douglas J. Paul, and Gerald S. Buller from Heriot-Watt and Edinburgh Universities, UK, presents a concept design of LiDAR with a SPAD detector cooled down to 100K:

"We present a scanning light detection and ranging (LIDAR) system incorporating an individual Ge-on-Si single-photon avalanche diode (SPAD) detector for depth and intensity imaging in the short-wavelength infrared region. The time-correlated single-photon counting technique was used to determine the return photon time-of-flight for target depth information. In laboratory demonstrations, depth and intensity reconstructions were made of targets at short range, using advanced image processing algorithms tailored for the analysis of single–photon time-of-flight data. These laboratory measurements were used to predict the performance of the single-photon LIDAR system at longer ranges, providing estimations that sub-milliwatt average power levels would be required for kilometer range depth measurements.

... recently, the use of planar geometry devices [39] yielded a significant step change improvement in performance. Vines et al. [39] reported a normal incidence planar geometry Ge-on-Si SPADs with 38% SPDE at 125 K at a wavelength of 1310 nm and a noise–equivalent power (NEP) of 2 × 10−16 WHz-1/2. In addition, these devices clearly demonstrated lower levels of afterpulsing compared with InGaAs/InP SPAD detectors operated under nominally identical conditions. The high SPDEs of Ge-on-Si SPADs and their reduced afterpulsing compared to InGaAs/InP SPADs provides the potential for significantly higher count rate operation and, consequently, reduced data acquisition times. Planar Ge-on-Si SPADs exhibit compatibility with Si CMOS processing, potentially leading to the development of inexpensive, highly efficient Ge-on-Si SPAD detector arrays. Here we report a successful demonstration of LIDAR 3D imaging using an individual planar Ge-on-Si SPAD operating at a wavelength of 1450 nm.
"

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Omnivision and Artilux to Collaborate on Ge-on-Si Sensors for Smartphones

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PRNewswire: OmniVision and Artilux announce their execution of a formal letter of intent to collaborate on GeSi-based 3D sensors, after a series of evaluation and analysis. The main objective of this collaboration is to combine OmniVision's CMOS imaging technology and market position with Artilux's GeSi 3D sensing technology, and accelerate the delivery of comprehensive RGB and 3D imaging solutions to the mobile phone segment.

The new product offerings will not only cover the mainstream light sensing spectrum from visible light to 850nm/940nm, but will further extend to 1350nm/1550nm, for improved outdoor experience and eye safety for multiple growing digital imaging market segments.


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SET Hybrid Bonding Machine Boasts 1um (3-sigma) Accuracy

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SET NEO HB hybrid/direct bonding machine claims +/-1um 3-sigma alignment accuracy:

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Brillnics 4um Voltage Domain GS Pixel

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MDPI paper "A Stacked Back Side-Illuminated Voltage Domain Global Shutter CMOS Image Sensor with a 4.0 μm Multiple Gain Readout Pixel" by Ken Miyauchi, Kazuya Mori, Toshinori Otaka, Toshiyuki Isozaki, Naoto Yasuda, Alex Tsai, Yusuke Sawai, Hideki Owada, Isao Takayanagi, and Junichi Nakamura from Brillnics is a part of the Special issue on the 2019 International Image Sensor Workshop (IISW2019).

"A backside-illuminated complementary metal-oxide-semiconductor (CMOS) image sensor with 4.0 μm voltage domain global shutter (GS) pixels has been fabricated in a 45 nm/65 nm stacked CMOS process as a proof-of-concept vehicle. The pixel components for the photon-to-voltage conversion are formed on the top substrate (the first layer). Each voltage signal from the first layer pixel is stored in the sample-and-hold capacitors on the bottom substrate (the second layer) via micro-bump interconnection to achieve a voltage domain GS function. The two sets of voltage domain storage capacitor per pixel enable a multiple gain readout to realize single exposure high dynamic range (SEHDR) in the GS operation. As a result, an 80dB SEHDR GS operation without rolling shutter distortions and motion artifacts has been achieved. Additionally, less than −140dB parasitic light sensitivity, small noise floor, high sensitivity and good angular response have been achieved."

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e2v Announces 37.7MP 86fps GS Sensor in 4/3-inch Format

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Teledyne e2v announces its new Emerald 36M, a 37.7MP sensor for industrial and outdoor applications requiring both high resolution and high speed.

Emerald 36M combines 6k square resolution, high frame rate, low noise, high QE, and wide angular response. The sensor is available in an ultra-high speed and a high-speed versions, respectively providing 86fps and 43fps at full resolution.

The sensor fits standard Four Thirds optics, and is said to be the world’s highest resolution global shutter sensor to fit these lenses. Emerald 36M is pin-to-pin and optically compatible with Emerald 67M, so that multiple resolutions and speed grades are possible from a single camera design.

Marie-Charlotte Leclerc, Marketing Manager at Teledyne e2v said, “We are delighted to release the Emerald 36M. The sensor is already gathering interest from vision system designers looking forward to improved accuracy and throughput with optimized inspection system paths. And beyond the factory floor, Emerald 36M enables surveillance over wider fields of view and provides higher autonomy for aerial mapping and security solutions.

Evaluation kits and samples of Emerald 36M are available now.

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Samsung Surface Plasmon Enhanced Organic Image Sensor

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Nature paper "Surface plasmon enhanced Organic color image sensor with Ag nanoparticles coated with silicon oxynitride" by Sung Heo, Jooho lee, Gae Hwang Lee, Chul-Joon Heo, Seong Heon Kim, Dong-Jin Yun, Jong-Bong Park, Kihong Kim, Yongsung Kim, Dongwook Lee, Gyeong-Su Park, Hoon Young Cho, Taeho Shin, Sung Young Yun, Sunghan Kim, Yong Wan Jin, and Kyung-Bae Park from Samsung Advanced Institute of Technology, Dongguk University, Yonsei University, Seoul National University, and Chonbuk National University shows Samsung efforts to improve OPD pixels:

"As organic photodetectors with less than 1 μm pixel size are in demand, a new way of enhancing the sensitivity of the photodetectors is required to compensate for its degradation due to the reduction in pixel size. Here, we used Ag nanoparticles coated with SiOxNy as a light-absorbing layer to realize the scale-down of the pixel size without the loss of sensitivity. The surface plasmon resonance appeared at the interface between Ag nanoparticles and SiOxNy. The plasmon resonance endowed the organic photodetector with boosted photon absorption and external quantum efficiency. As the Ag nanoparticles with SiOxNy are easily deposited on ITO/SiO2, it can be adapted into various organic color image sensors. The plasmon-supported organic photodetector is a promising solution for realizing color image sensors with high resolution below 1 μm."


"In summary,... Although the effective area for receiving the incident photon is expected to decrease with the scaling-down of the pixels, the introduction of the SPR in OCIS counters the problem without losing the spatial resolution. With further systematic research conducted on the pattern and size of Ag NPs, the SPR is likely to be the sole solution for realizing OCISs with high resolution below 1 μm."

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LIGO Interferometer Reduces Quantum Fluctuations of Light

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LIGO interferometer for gravitational waves observations announces that it uses squeezed light to improve the measurement accuracy:

"The Heisenberg uncertainty principle states that we can't know both the position and the velocity of a quantum particle perfectly--the better we know the position, the worse we know the velocity, and vice versa. For light waves, the Heisenberg principle tells us that there are unavoidable uncertainties in amplitude and phase that are connected in a similar way. One of the stranger consequences of quantum theory is that there must be fluctuating electric and magnetic fields, even in a total vacuum. In a normal vacuum state, these "zero-point" fluctuations are completely random and the total uncertainty is distributed equally between the amplitude and the phase. However, by using a crystal with non-linear optical properties, it is possible to prepare a special state of light where most of the uncertainty is concentrated in only one of the two variables. Such a crystal can convert normal vacuum to "squeezed vacuum", which has phase fluctuations SMALLER than normal vacuum! At the same time, the amplitude fluctuations are larger, but phase noise is what really matters for LIGO."

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SPAD PDP Simulation

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National Chiao Tung University, Taiwan paper "Photon-Detection-Probability Simulation Method for CMOS Single-Photon Avalanche Diodes" by Chin-An Hsieh, Chia-Ming Tsai, Bing-Yue Tsui, Bo-Jen Hsiao, and Sheng-Di Lin is a part of MPDI Special issue on the 2019 International Image Sensor Workshop (IISW2019).

"Single-photon avalanche diodes (SPADs) in complementary metal-oxide-semiconductor (CMOS) technology have excellent timing resolution and are capable to detect single photons. The most important indicator for its sensitivity, photon-detection probability (PDP), defines the probability of a successful detection for a single incident photon. To optimize PDP is a cost- and time-consuming task due to the complicated and expensive CMOS process. In this work, we have developed a simulation procedure to predict the PDP without any fitting parameter. With the given process parameters, our method combines the process, the electrical, and the optical simulations in commercially available software and the calculation of breakdown trigger probability. The simulation results have been compared with the experimental data conducted in an 800-nm CMOS technology and obtained a good consistence at the wavelength longer than 600 nm. The possible reasons for the disagreement at the short wavelength have been discussed. Our work provides an effective way to optimize the PDP of a SPAD prior to its fabrication."

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SmartSens Announces Starlight Upgrade Technology, IoT Award

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The Starlight H-Series sensor announcement has been removed at SmartSens request.

PRNewswire: SmartSens SC132GS sensor has been selected as the winner of the "IoT Semiconductor Solution of the Year" award in the 4th annual IoT Breakthrough Awards program from IoT Breakthrough, a market intelligence organization.

"We expect to see the SmartSens SC132GS perform outstandingly in fields such as IoT that demand high efficiency and efficacy," said Chris Yiu, CMO, SmartSens. "IoT solutions, ITS, machine vision for manufacturing automation, and intelligent security and surveillance are just a few examples of these fields. SmartSens is confident that as AI and 5G technologies mature, more applications will arise which the SC132GS and subsequent products from SmartSens will be able to handle in stride. We are proud to receive this significant industry recognition from IoT Breakthrough in recognition of our innovation and success."

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4th International Workshop on Image Sensor and Systems (IWISS2018)

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A full collection of papers from 4th International Workshop on Image Sensor and Systems (IWISS2018) held in November 2018 at Tokyo Institute of Technology, Japan, is published on-line at International Image Sensor Society site.

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Espros ToF Performance in Sunlight

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Espros publishes a demo video of its ToF camera performance with sunlight in the frame:

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SPAD ToF Imager Thesis

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1University of Oulu, Finland, publishes PhD Thesis "Time-gating technique for a single-photon detection-based solid-state time-of-flight 3D range imager" by Henna Ruokamo.

"This thesis is concerned with the development of a solid-state 3D range imager based on use of the sliding time-gate technique in a SPAD array and short (~200 ps), intensive laser pulses. The area of the in-pixel electronics needed in time-gated imagers is small, which leads to a high fill factor and a possibility for implementing large arrays. The use of short laser pulses increases the precision and frame rate, since depth measurement can be limited to the range of interest, e.g. around the surface of the target. To increase the frame rate further, the array can be divided into subarrays with independently defined ranges. Tolerance of high background light is achieved by using sub-ns time-gate widths.

A SPAD array of 80 x 25 pixels is developed and realized here. The array is divided into 40 subarrays, the narrow (less than 0.8 ns) time-gating positions for which can be set independently. The time-gating for each of the subarrays is selected separately with an on-chip DLL block that has 240 outputs and a delay grid of ~100 ps. The fill factor of the sensor area is 32%. A 3D range image measurement at ~10 frames per second with centimetre-level precision is demonstrated for the case of passive targets within a range of ~4 metres and a field of view of 18 × 28 degrees, requiring an average active illumination power of only 0.1 mW. A frame rate of 70 range images per second was achieved with a higher laser average illumination power (~5 mW) and pulsing rate (700 kHz) when limiting the scanning range for each subarray to 30 cm around the surfaces of the targets.

An FPGA-based algorithm which controls the time-gating of the SPAD array and produces the range images in real time was also developed and realized.


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Opnous ToF Presentation

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China-based startup Opnous publishes a presentation on its ToF products, reportedly licensed from Brookman and Shizuoka University.

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LiDAR News: SK Telecom, Pioneer, Canon, Outsight, SOS Lab, ON Semi, Valeo, Kyocera, Livox

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SK Telecom announces ‘Next-Generation Single Photon LiDAR’ developed with Pioneer Smart Sensing Innovations Corporation (PSSI). SK Telcom and PSSI entered into a joint development agreement in September 2019 to develop a next-generation single photon LiDAR and have been actively working together since to commercialize the new LiDAR by 2021. The LiDAR combines SK Telecom's 1550nm SPAD with Pioneer's 2D MEMS scanning mirror.

SK Telecom’s single photon LiDAR transceiver technologies consist of 1550 nm laser, SPAD, and Time-Correlated Single Photon Counting (TCSPC). 1550 nm laser, much stronger than 905 nm laser, is said to enable extended detection of objects at a distance of up to 500m.

Rather than a linear-mode APD, SK Telecom uses SPAD to ensure higher sensitivity to light. With SPAD, Next-Generation Single Photon LiDAR can accurately detect low-reflectivity objects like tires or pedestrians dressed in black.


Pioneer adds that Canon too is a part of this joint 500m-range LiDAR project with SK Telecom:

"Together with Canon Inc. (“Canon,” hereafter), PSSI is engaged in co-development of 3D-LiDAR sensors, which are regarded as an indispensable key device for the realization of autonomous driving in level-three and above autonomous vehicles (conditional automation).., which utilizes Micro Electric Memory Systems (MEMS) mirror-based scanning method and Canon’s optical technologies... The newly developed next-generation 3D-LiDAR sensor is a 1550nm wavelength sensor model which—although based on the same core technologies developed by PSSI and Canon—offers a greatly extended measurement distance made possible by the addition of transceiver (transmitter / receiver) technologies developed by SK Telecom Co., Ltd. (“SK Telecom,” hereafter) of South Korea. The new sensor is capable of high resolution and measurement at long distance of 500m."


EIN Newsdesk: Hyperspectral LiDAR startup Outsight just got a first customer. After an international competition, the Paris airport group (ADP) has chosen Outsight's "3D Smart Monitoring" system to be used in two areas of Paris-Charles de Gaulle airport in the international Terminal 2E, including the baggage claim zone. One of the key elements of this technology is the Edge Privacy feature: the video stream doesn't leave the sensors. Because the calculations on the images are created on the device itself, it is completely autonomous in the analysis of the data captured, thus avoiding the transit of sensitive data via the networks.

Raul Bravo, President and Co-Founder of Outsight, says: "This first deployment at Paris Charles-de-Gaulle Airport, just a few months after the company's creation, demonstrates the relevance of our 3D perception approach in the context of improved operations and security. This first implementation follows a succession of announcements for Outsight, and can then be extended to other areas such as shopping malls and train stations."


BusinessWire: SOS Lab is to use ON Semi SPADs in its LiDAR. “We expect to develop (solid-state) type lidars more quickly and plan to mass-produce lidars for vehicles with built-in headlamps and bumpers within 2-3 years,” says JiSeong Jeong, CEO of SOS Lab.


Valeo Investor Presentation releases some data on its LiDAR sales, as a response to skeptics saying there is no market for automotive LiDARs now:


Kyocera presents LiDAR and camera in a single box:

There is a big problem with many of these LIDAR systems,” Senior Manager of Research Hiroyuki Minagawa says, “they use mechanical motors to rotate their scanning mirrors, and they can’t withstand the shaking and vibration that happens normally in a car. I don’t think they would last more than a couple of years.To overcome this limitation, Kyocera develops another exclusive solution, using a MEMS Mirror housed inside Kyocera’s exclusive Ceramic Packaging Technology. Ceramics are in Kyocera’s DNA, right down to its name, and breakthroughs in ceramic technology are an integral part of Kyocera’s history. This advanced ceramic technology makes Kyocera’s Camera-LIDAR Fusion Sensor far more durable in real-world driving conditions, making it the superior choice for autonomous driving systems.


Livox explains its non-repetitive scanning pattern advantages:

"The environment scanned by a Livox sensor increases with longer integration time as the laser explores new spaces within its Field of View (or FOV). As seen in the image below, a Livox Mid-40 or Mid-100 sensor generates a unique flower-like scanning pattern to create a 3D image of the surrounding environment. Image fidelity increases rapidly over time. In comparison, conventional lidar sensors use horizontal linear scanning methods that run the risk of blind spots, causing some objects in their FOV to remain undetected regardless of how long the scan lasts. The unique non-repetitive scanning method of the Livox lidar sensors enables nearly 100% FOV coverage with longer integration time which does not exist in any market alternatives today at this cost."

Livox Horizon LiDAR is sold for for $999, Tele-15 costs $1,499.

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TPSCo 2.5um GS Pixel

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TPSCo paper "A High-Performance 2.5 μm Charge Domain Global Shutter Pixel and Near Infrared Enhancement with Light Pipe Technology" by Ikuo Mizuno, Masafumi Tsutsui, Toshifumi Yokoyama, Tatsuya Hirata, Yoshiaki Nishi, Dmitry Veinger, Adi Birman, and Assaf Lahav is a part of MDPI Special Issue on the 2019 International Image Sensor Workshop (IISW2019).

"We developed a new 2.5 μm global shutter (GS) pixel using a 65 nm process with an advanced light pipe (LP) structure. This is the world’s smallest charge domain GS pixel reported so far. This new developed pixel platform is a key enabler for ultra-high resolution sensors, industrial cameras with wide aperture lenses, and low form factors optical modules for mobile applications. The 2.5 μm GS pixel showed excellent optical performances: 68% quantum efficiency (QE) at 530 nm, ±12.5 degrees angular response (AR), and quite low parasitic light sensitivity (PLS)—10,400 1/PLS with the F#2.8 lens. In addition, we achieved an extremely low memory node (MN) dark current 13 e−/s at 60 °C by fully pinned MN. Furthermore, we studied how the LP technology contributes to the improvement of the modulation transfer function (MTF) in near infrared (NIR) enhanced GS pixel. The 2.8 μm GS pixel using a p-substrate showed 109 lp/mm MTF@50% at 940 nm, which is 1.6 times better than that without an LP. The MTF can be more enhanced by the combination of the LP and the deep photodiode (PD) electrically isolated from the substrate. We demonstrated the advantage of using LP technology and our advanced stacked deep photodiode (SDP) technology together. This unique combination showed an improvement of more than 100% in NIR QE while maintaining an MTF that is close to the theoretical Nyquist limit (MTF @50% = 156 lp/mm)."

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ISSCC Forum ‘Sensors for Health’

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ISSCC 2020 Forum "Sensors for Health" organized by Matteo Perenzoni, FBK, Italy, has a number of image sensing presentations:
  • Flexible Electronics for Medical Imaging: from Patches to Large-Area X-Ray Imaging
    Kris Myny, IMEC, Leuven, Belgium
  • SPADs, ISFETs and Photodiodes: Mixed-Mode Sensing for Healthcare
    David Cumming, University of Glasgow, Glasgow, United Kingdom
  • CMOS Sensor Architectures and Circuital Solutions for Nuclear Medicine: from Scintillator-Based dSiPM to Monolithic Detectors
    Nicola Massari, FBK, Trento, Italy
  • CMOS/BiCMOS THz System-on-Chip for Life-Science Applications
    Ullrich Pfeiffer, University of Wuppertal, Wuppertal, Germany

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Sony Announces 2.74um GS Products, 5.8um Quad-Bayer Sensor

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Sony adds 2.74um GS pixel products to its lineup - shown in pink color below:


For security and surveillance applications, Sony introduces 5.8um Starvis quad-Bayer pixel in its new 1080p90 IMX482LQR sensor:

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Ams Presents First Fruit of its Cooperation with SmartSens

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BusinessWire: ams introduces the NIR CMOS Global Shutter Sensor CGSS130 aimed to 3D optical sensing applications such as face recognition, payment authentication and more to operate at much lower power than alternative implementations.

The CGSS130 sensor is said to be 4 times more sensitive to NIR wavelengths than most other image sensor on the market today. Since the IR emitter consumes most of the power in face recognition and other 3D sensing applications, the use of the CGSS130 sensor will enable manufacturers to extend battery run-time in mobile devices. The sensor also creates the opportunity to implement face recognition in wearable devices and in other products which are powered by a very small battery, or to enable a new range of applications beyond face recognition as the increased sensitivity extends the measurement range for the same power budget.

Stephane Curral, EVP and GM at ams’ ISS division, says: “Following the announcement of ams’ partnership with SmartSens Technology earlier this year, we are delighted to announce the first 3D Active Stereo Vision (ASV) reference design based on the CGSS130 voltage-based NIR enhanced global shutter image sensor. The 1.3MP stacked BSI sensor offers the highest Quantum Efficiency at 940nm, ideally suited for battery-powered devices. By supplying all main parts of the 3D system (illumination, receiver, SW) ams enables superior system performance with lower costs and a faster time to market for its customers.

Development of the CGSS130 has been accelerated by ams’ partnership with SmartSens Technology. The new sensor is available for sampling.

The CGSS130 has a QE up to 40% at 940nm, and up to 58% at 850nm. The stacked BSI process allows for a small footprint of just 3.8mm x 4.2mm and the GS pixel size of 2.7um.

The sensor produces monochrome images with an effective pixel array of 1080H × 1280V at a maximum frame rate of 120 fps. This high frame rate and global shutter operation produce clean images free of blur or other motion artifacts.

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Are There Too Many LiDAR Companies?

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Wired article "There Are Too Many Lidar Companies. They Can't All Survive" quotes Shahin Farshchi, a partner at VC fund Lux who invests in LiDAR company Aeva, saying that for every 10 LiDAR startups "three will fold, four will be acquired for modest sums, and the remainder will produce impressive returns."

Recently, the LiDAR industry has shown signs of consolidation, and some see a shakeout coming. Luminar CEO Austin Russell says he has been approached by a half-dozen competitors asking if Luminar would be interested in acquiring them.

Meanwhile, France’s Valeo has logged $564 million worth of orders for its LiDARs, which work best for shorter distances.

Reuters: Alternative uses and customers are needed to keep revenue flowing at LiDAR startups waiting for the expected boom in self-driving cars, which still looks to be years away. For smaller LiDAR companies backed by venture capital, developing new markets is key.


Henry Patent Law Firm publishes its LiDAR patent landscape analysis:


According to Woodside Capital Partners presentation, investment in LiDAR companies is far greater than in other AV vision solutions:


PhotonicsSpectra publishes Greg Smolka's, VP of business development at Insight LiDAR, article on the VC market:

"According to IDTechEx, as of August, $1.9 billion was invested in the 2019 lidar market. PitchBook’s third quarter 2019 Mobility Tech report shows that the lidar industry was on track for a record year, with approximately $1.2 billion in venture capital (VC) investment in the first three quarters of the year. Since 2009, investors have deployed over $2.5 billion in VC dollars into the industry.

With 100 or so players in the market, many offering similar technology, consolidation is bound to happen. [Dexin Chen, senior analyst at IHS Markit] said we’ve begun to see an uptick in mergers and acquisitions for lidar makers. Ultimately, those that prevail will have the ability to meet all of the specifications necessary for L4/L5 AVs, including cost targets. The vast majority of companies working on automotive lidar are also pursuing other applications such as security, mapping, and industrial automation. While the automotive lidar market may consolidate, technological advancements driven by this market will have far-reaching effects.
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More LiDAR News: Velodyne $100 LiDAR, XenomatiX Partners with Marelli

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BusinessWire: Velodyne introduces $199 Velabit, Velodyne’s smallest LiDAR which "delivers the same technology and performance found on Velodyne’s full suite of state-of-the-art sensors and will be the catalyst for creating endless possibilities for new applications in a variety of industries."

The Velabit democratizes lidar with its ultra-small form factor and its sensor pricing targeted at $100 in high-volume production, making 3D lidar available for all safety-critical applications,” said Anand Gopalan, CEO, Velodyne Lidar. “Its combination of performance, size and price position the Velabit to drive a quantum leap in the number of lidar-powered applications. The sensor delivers what the industry has been seeking: a breakthrough innovation that can jump-start a new era of autonomous solutions on a global scale.

Velabit’s features:
  • Integrated processing in a compact size of 2.4” x 2.4” x 1.38” – smaller than a deck of playing cards – to be easily embedded in a wide range of solutions.
  • Range up to 100 meters.
  • 60-deg horizontal FoV x 10-deg vertical FOV.
  • Highly configurable to support a range of applications.
  • Class 1 eye-safe 903nm laser.
  • Bottom connector with cable length options.
  • Multiple manufacturing sources scheduled to be available for qualified production projects.


PRNewswire: Marelli and XenomatiX enter into a technical and commercial development agreement in the autonomous driving field.

"Marelli is a leading automotive supplier with the right competencies to develop modular LiDAR solutions fulfilling different Automotive OEM needs, integrating them into larger systems, based on the True Solid State LiDAR technology we designed for the automotive market," states Filip Geuens, CEO of XenomatiX. "Marelli`s long-standing experience in the automotive field and with the 3D sensors is key to this partnership."

Marelli introduces the Smart Corner, a solution integrating sensors for autonomous driving within vehicle headlamps and tail lamps, while maintaining attractive styling and world-class lighting performance:



PRNewswire: Carnavicom, a South Korean automotive supplier, presents its new LiDAR that has achieved an average of a 26% decrease in costs thanks to local procurement of parts and key components such as brushless direct current motor (BLDC), laser diode (LD) and avalanche photodiode (APD). Such efforts have enabled LiDAR sensors to be more affordable to integrate into other LiDAR products and applications.

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