In this fourth and last report about ISE 2012 I would like to give some more details about 2 presentations.
Firstly the Sony presentation given by Eiichi Funatsu on Small Pixel Technology. The presenter posted a couple of questions on the screen (when moving from a 1.4 um pixel 8M pixel to a 1.12 um pixel 13M pixel sensor) :
1) Is a 1.12 um pixel giving an acceptable S/N ? It was shown in the presentation that moving to a flat technology (no STI, no LOCOS) is really improving the dark performance. Also illustrated was the improvement of the angular response when moving to BSI technology. So the question could be answered with a YES : the S/N will be acceptable due to new developments and new improvements of the existing technology.
2) Is it really possible to resolve 1.12 um ? A higher pixel count on the sensor gives the observer a PERCEIVED larger S/N ratio. For that reason Sony introduces a new parameter, being the Perceived Noise Value. The method is relying on the resolution characteristics of the human visual system to come up with a quantative indication for Perceived Noise Value. (More details : Proc. Autumn Meeting of the Society of Photographic Science and Technology of Japan, Dec. 2011, pp. 12-13.) It was shown that although the 1.12 um pixel showed a worse noise performance, the perceived quality of the image was better than the one obtained by the 1.4 um pixel.
3) Is it possible to use the high resoluting for something else ? Yes, to extend the dynamic range by the implementation of RGBW colour filters. This is not new (the presenter mentioned that some other company was doing this already, he did not mention which other company ?!), but what is new is the fact that Sony reconverts the RGBW data in Bayer RGB data. In this way they still can rely on the existing ISP hard- and software. Simple, but cleaver idea.
The closing presentation of ISE 2012 was given by Eric Fossum. It was remarkably that many people remained present at the conference to hear Eric giving his talk. I have to admit that I had heard this talk already before (it was even posted on YouTube a few months ago), but it is still a pleasure to hear and see the original presentation delivered live by the original author in front of an audience. Eric has a great style of presenting his material and to bring his ideas about the QIS (Quanta Image Sensor) across. A few months ago he mentioned that he had a lot of great ideas on the implementation of the QIS, but that he had no money to explore his ideas. This time he mentioned that he has several PhD students who are going to help him in his research. So a major step forward !
Eric Fossum started with a short overview of CCD and CMOS technology, highlighted the short comings of the existing technologies and introduced the QIS which can solve a lot of the problems. Very wel structured presentation !
Overall the ISE 2012 was a great conference. Many people gave very positive feedback about the program, the speakers and the content of the presentations. In this blog only reports are given about the technical presentations and about the contributions on image sensors. This does not mean that the other presentations that are not highlighted in this blog were of less quality !
Thanks and congratulations to the organizers, and especially to the speakers. Great job !