Wednesday, March 21, 2018

ToF Depth Resolution Improved to 6.5nm

OSA Optics Letters issue dated by April 1st, 2018 publishes Peking University, China, KAIST and KRISS, Korea paper "Time-of-flight detection of femtosecond laser pulses for precise measurement of large microelectronic step height."

"By using time-of-flight detection with fiber-loop optical-microwave phase detectors, precise measurement of large step height is realized. The proposed method shows uncertainties of 15 nm and 6.5 nm at sampling periods of 40 ms and 800 ms, respectively. This method employs only one free-running femtosecond mode-locked laser and requires no scanning of laser repetition rate, making it easier to operate. Precise measurements of 6 μm and 0.5 mm step heights have been demonstrated, which show good functionality of this method for measurement of step heights."

Google Reportedly Buys Lytro

Techcrunch sources report that Google is acquiring Lytro:

"One source described the deal as an “asset sale” with Lytro going for no more than $40 million. Another source said the price was even lower: $25 million. A third source tells us that not all employees are coming over with the company’s technology: some have already received severance and parted ways with the company, and others have simply left. Assets would presumably also include Lytro’s 59 patents related to light-field and other digital imaging technology.

The sale would be far from a big win for Lytro and its backers. The startup has raised just over $200 million in funding and was valued at around $360 million after its last round in 2017. Its long list of investors include Andreessen Horowitz, Foxconn, GV, Greylock, NEA, Qualcomm Ventures and many more.

Here is NYTimes illustration of Lytro's first product back in 2012:

Samsung Foundry CIS Offerings

Samsung publishes its CIS process features available at 8-inch foundry:

Currently, all 8-inch foundry wafers are processed at Line 6 in Giheung campus, Korea:

Recent Progress of Visible Light Image Sensors

CERN publishes Nobukazu Teranishi's 58 page-large presentation "Recent Progresses of Visible Light Image Sensors" at the Detector Seminar at CERN on February 23, 2018. There is a lot of interesting slides, including spares in the end. Here is just a small part of the content:

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Nikkei Reviews Sony Paper at ISSCC

Nikkei publishes a 4-part review of Sony ISSCC 2018 presentation on event-driven sensor:

ST Talk about Dirty Glass in ToF Imaging

ST video presents issues with dirty cover glass in ToF devices, followed by a sort of obvious solution:

Monday, March 19, 2018

Up-Conversion Device to Give 1550nm Sensitivity to CMOS Sensors

Nocamels, The Times of Israel: Gabby Sarusi from Ben-Gurion University of the Negev "has developed a stamp-like device of which one side reads 1,500-nanometer infrared wavelengths, and converts them to images that are visible to the human eye on the other side of the stamp. This stamp — basically a film that is half a micron in thickness — is composed of nano-metric layers, nano-columns and metal foil, which transform infrared images into visible images.

An infrared sensor costs around $3,000, Sarusi said. A regular vision sensor used by autonomous cars costs $1-$2. So, by adding the nanotech layers, which cost around $5, Sarusi said, one can get an infrared sensor for about $7-$8.

Thanks to DS for the pointer!

Omnivision Nyxel Technology Wins Smart Products Leadership Award

Frost & Sullivan’s Manufacturing Leadership Council prizes Omnivision by Smart Products and Services Leadership Award for Nyxel NIR imaging technology.

Sunday, March 18, 2018

SF Current and RTN

Japanese Journal of Applied Physics publishes Tohoku University paper "Effect of drain current on appearance probability and amplitude of random telegraph noise in low-noise CMOS image sensors" by Shinya Ichino, Takezo Mawaki, Akinobu Teramoto, Rihito Kuroda, Hyeonwoo Park, Shunichi Wakashima, Tetsuya Goto, Tomoyuki Suwa, and Shigetoshi Sugawa. It turns out that lower SF current can reduce RTN, at least for 0.18um process used in the test chip:

Saturday, March 17, 2018

ST Announces 4m Range ToF Sensor

The VL53L1X TOF sensor extends the detection range of ST's FlightSense technology to four meters, bringing high-accuracy, low-power distance measurement, and proximity detection to an even wider variety of applications. The fully integrated VL53L1X measures only 4.9mm x 2.5mm x 1.56mm, allowing use even where space is very limited. It is also pin-compatible with its predecessor, the VL53L0X, allowing easy upgrading of existing products. The compact package contains the laser driver and emitter as well as SPAD array light receiver that gives ST’s FlightSense sensors their ranging speed and reliability. Furthermore, the 940nm emitter, operating in the non-visible spectrum, eliminates distracting light emission and can be hidden behind a protective window without impairing measurement performance.

ST publishes quite a detailed datasheet with the performance data: