Sony Semiconductor Solutions is continuing the current trend of offering sensors with better performance in smaller packaging. IMX536, IMX546, and IMX566 are the latest 4th generation 2/3-type format CMOS sensors using Pregius STM technology. With 8.1 megapixels, versions are available for monochrome and for colour images (RGB).
The new CMOS sensors in an identical LGA package feature a global shutter with variable charge-integration time. They achieve very good image quality with high sensitivity and low dark current characteristics. These sensors offer excellent opportunities to realise a simpler camera design – for example in factory automation, Intelligent Transport System (ITS) applications and embedded vision – with the IMX546 and IMX566 being particularly cost-efficient options.
Tiny Pixels with High Saturation and Sensitivity
Thanks to high sensitivity Backside Illuminated (BSI) pixel architecture, Sony® has been able to reduce the pixel size to 2.74 µm on all three sensors. At the same time, the previous generation’s performance characteristics have been retained and even improved. With a size of just 11.1 mm (diagonal) and 2.74 µm pixels in a square pixel array with 8.13 M effective pixels (2856 (H) x 2848 (V)), the new IMX536, IMX546 and IMX566 sensors deliver the high saturation and sensitivity that are typical for the Pregius STM technology.
All sensors support multiple readout modes: all-pixel scan mode, vertical / horizontal 1/2 subsampling mode, 2x2 FD binning mode and various ROI settings.
The energy-saving sensors use a quadruple power supply design with 3.3V and 2.9V for the analog, 1.1V for digital and 1.8V for interfacing.
For Industrial Vision Systems and Embedded Applications
The new IMX536 is the top model – a high-speed variant with SLVS/SLVS-EC interface allowing the sensor to achieve a frame and transmission rate up to 194 fps with 8 bits in all-pixel scan mode. Because of its high frame rates, it is mainly used in demanding vision applications in factory automation. Monitoring fluids while filtering out microscopic debris is one such application.
The IMX546 also has an SLVS/SLVS-EC interface and achieves 91 fps with 8 bits. Its resolution makes it suitable for all scenarios requiring Full HD displays, for example in factory automation and ITS. In turn, the attractively priced IMX566 is recommended for embedded vision applications. Its image rate of 62 fps with 8 bits and MIPI CSI-2 interface are ideal for controlling and processing image data in these settings.
Sibel Yorulmaz-Cokugur, sensor expert at FRAMOS, highlights an important aspect of the sensor design: “Sony uses Pregius STM technology, a vertically stacked CMOS pixel architecture, to achieve better performance in an even smaller package. Stacked pixel architecture also makes it possible to put the signal processing on the chip, enabling further miniaturisation and enhanced sensor functionalities.”
Stacked Pixels in the BSI Structure
The main difference with the new stacked pixel technology is the positioning of the storage elements and the electrical wiring of the pixels. In this architecture, the pixel wiring is placed beneath the photodiodes. The pixel size can then be reduced to 2.74 µm, while maintaining sensitivity and saturation quality. A higher resolution is also achieved.
CMOS sensors using Pregius STM technology offer distortion-free, high resolution images, with a minimal package size. They are suitable for applications in manufacturing, inspection, and logistics – and achieve greater precision and faster processing speeds for smart factories and advanced automation.
Availability and Further Information
IMX536, IMX546, and IMX566 engineering samples are available now from FRAMOS
Series production is expected to begin in March 2021
More information on CMOS sensors using Pregius STM technology is available at: https://www.framos.com/en/sony-pregius-cmos-global-shutter