ISSCC 2017 (1)

Bongki Son of Samsung presented a paper “A 640 x 480 dynamic vision sensor with 9um pixel and 300MEPS address-event representation”.  This work reminds me very much of the research of Tobi Delbruck and of the projects of Chronocam.  A sensor is developed that does not generate standard images but only indicates in which pixels there is a change from frame to frame.  The pixel that is used in this application is pretty complex with more than 10 transistors and at least two caps per pixel.  The results shown at the end of the presentation were quite impressive of what can be achieved by such a device.

InSilixa presented a paper “A fully integrated CMOS fluorescence biochip for multiplex polymerase chain reaction (PCR) processes”.  This disposable CMOS biochip allows DNA analysis with a flow-through fluidic system.  The chip has 32 x 32 DNA biosensors included on the chip.  Next to the photosensitive part in every pixel, quite some circuitry is included as well.  Even a heater (fabricated in metal 4) is part of every pixel.  Another critical feature of the design is the on-chip interference filter that needs to block the excitation light (around 500 nm), but needs to allow passing the low-light level fluorescence light that needs to be detected (around 590 nm).

Min-Woong Seo of Shizuoka University presented “A programmable sub-nanosecond time-gated 4-tap lock-in pixel CMOS image sensor for real time fluorescence lifetime imaging microscopy”.  Also in this case the pixel is pretty large and does contain a lot of extra electronics next to the light sensitive area.  The modulation pixel has 4 taps which are addressed every 0.9 ns (= very fast !).  The pixel looks very much the same as a CMOS 4T pixel with a charge storage node for global shuttering.  But in this case the pixel has 4 charge nodes to store information.  It is not the first time that Shizuoka University is publishing pixels for ToF applications, and I am always very much intrigued by their device simulations (they use the same tools as Delft University of Technology is using).  It is indeed amazing to see how narrow channel effects are being used in this pixel to speed up the device.

Albert, 7-2-2017.

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