Sony Semiconductor Solutions has launched two new image sensors that include both the visible and short wavelength infrared (SWIR) ranges in captured images. The IMX990 and IMX991 sensors utilize the industry’s smallest 5µm pixel size of any InGaAs based sensor.
These sensors leverage Sony’s original SenSWIR technology and are SXGA 1/2-type and VGA 1/4-type imagers that are being made available by decades-long partner and vision expert, FRAMOS®. Both these products utilize a 5µm square pixel that can capture light wavelengths that are both visible and nonvisible to the human eye. The spectral response of these sensors is between 400nm-1700nm allowing them to detect and see into the SWIR range while not sacrificing too much within the visible spectrum ranges. This is partially achieved through thinning of the top Indium Phosphide (InP) layer, placed above the indium gallium arsenide (InGaAs). This thinning allowing the shorter wavelengths, those in the blue light range, to pass through and be absorbed in the sensitive InGaAs region. This sensing layer is then connected to the readout circuitry through Cu-Cu connections that help them deliver high quality images in a compact design. Additional outer memory provides real-time optical black (OPB) dark level information without the need for external dark current correction (DCC).
The IMX990 1.34 MP sensor has a 1296 x 1032 active pixel array that can be streamed at 130 fps @ 8 bits, 120 fps @ 10 bits and 70 fps @ 12 bits. The IMX991 0.34 MP sensor has a 656 x 520 active pixel array that can be streamed at 250 fps @ 8 bits, 240 fps @ 10 bits and 130 fps @ 12 bits. The smaller pixel size of these imagers combined with Sony’s sensor stacking experience provides for a very compact design for their packages, thereby reducing costs for similarly designed SWIR based cameras. Both a ceramic PGA with built-in thermoelectric cooling (TEC) and a ceramic LGA package will be available. For those with experience in incorporating Sony’s other Pregius based sensors, these new chips support almost the same functionalities thus accelerating their incorporation into existing designs and eliminating the need for analog circuitry typically needed for SWIR based camera designs. Global shutters, ROI and digital thermometers are standard functions available with these products. Image data is transmitted via 2 or 4 switchable SLVS data lines at either 8, 10, or 12 bits/pixel while communication is handled via either I2C or 4 wire.
Sibel Yorulmaz-Cokugur, FRAMOS’ sensor expert, says: “Sony’s InGaAs based sensors are unique in the marketplace. Their small pixel size and stacked layer design creates very compact SWIR-based camera designs. Their completely digital interfaces that utilize similar command and control as other Pregius based sensors offers them quick design cycles when build upon existing camera platforms.”
Markets that can benefit from these sensors include those who target Machine Vision for Inspection, Selection, Sorting or Hyperspectral/Multispectral cameras.
Availability and further information
Evaluation samples are expected within the Summer 2020 timeframe with mass production planned for spring 2021. The industry and product experts at FRAMOS are available to support customers with the integration of these new sensors into their applications and projects. In addition, FRAMOS provides a broad range of support services for development, customization, and sensor logistics.