Samsung Electronics today announced its new pixel technology for CMOS image sensors, ISOCELL, which increases light sensitivity and controls the absorption of electrons, resulting in higher color fidelity even in poor lighting conditions.
The quality of an image sensor is determined by the amount of light that is accurately captured by the individual pixels within the sensor array. With the market pressure to increase camera resolution and image quality, without growing the camera size, the pixels have had to shrink, while improving their performance at the same time.
To meet this challenge, previous sensor technology developments focused on improving the light absorption of each pixel, and have progressed pixel technology from FSI (Front Side Illumination) to BSI (Back Side Illumination) which places photodiode at the top to maximize photoelectric efficiency. While being very effective at the time, this BSI technology also faced limitations in improving image quality as pixel sizes continued to decrease.
Samsung's ISOCELL technology forms a physical barrier between neighboring pixels - isolating the pixel. This isolation enables more photons to be collected from the micro-lens and absorbed into the correct pixel?s photodiode minimizing undesired electrical crosstalk between pixels and allowing expanded full well capacity (FWC).
According to Samsung, compared to conventional BSI pixels, the ISOCELL pixels decrease the crosstalk by approximately 30 percent which results in higher color fidelity to reproduce the original color with sharpness, and increase the full well capacity (FWC) by 30 percent which leads to greater dynamic range.
Additionally, an imager designed with ISOCELL can feature a 20 percent wider chief ray angle (CRA), reducing the height of the camera module. This makes it suitable for slim and small form factor mobile devices with challenging low z-height requirements.
As the first Samsung image sensor to adopt this new technology, the S5K4H5YB 8Megapixel imager utilizes a 1.12um ISOCELL pixel and has a 1/4inch optical format. The S5K4H5YB is currently sampling to Samsung's customers with mass production scheduled for Q4 2013.
Samsung said that the new technology is going to be added to the
tentatively-named Galaxy S5, Galaxy Note 4 and next-generation mirrorless