Friday, March 1, 2024

High-Resolution SWIR Image Sensor

By Nidhi Agarwal

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The latest development in industrial imaging is a SWIR image sensor with a pixel count of 5.32 MP, providing precision in various applications.

SWIR

Sony Semiconductor Solutions Corporation (SSS) have released the IMX992 short-wavelength infrared (SWIR) image sensor for industrial equipment, featuring the industry’s highest pixel count at 5.32 effective megapixels.

The sensor utilizes SSS’s Cu-Cu connection for the industry’s smallest pixel size of 3.45 μm among SWIR image sensors. It also has an optimized pixel structure for capturing light efficiently, enabling high-definition imaging across a spectrum from visible to invisible short-wavelength infrared regions. 

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SWIR image sensors, capable of wide spectrum imaging in the visible to invisible short-wavelength infrared range using a single camera, are used in processes like semiconductor wafer bonding, defect inspection, and inspections in food production for ingredients and contaminants.

The new sensors enable higher-resolution imaging through pixel miniaturization, enhancing imaging performance in low-light environments for higher-quality imaging during inspection and monitoring applications in darker conditions. Leveraging the characteristics of short-wavelength infrared light, with different reflection and absorption properties from visible light, these products expand applications in inspection, recognition, and measurement, contributing to improved industrial productivity.

The design facilitates a compact form factor while maintaining the industry’s highest pixel count of around 5.32 effective megapixels for the IMX992. The heightened pixel count enhances the ability to detect small objects and enables imaging across a broad range, thereby significantly improving recognition and measurement precision in inspections using short-wavelength infrared light. Including new shooting modes allows for low-noise imaging independent of environmental brightness. In low-light settings, the High Conversion Gain (HCG) mode directly amplifies the signal with minimal noise, reducing downstream noise impact.

The image sensors utilize a thinner indium-phosphorous (InP) layer to avoid absorbing visible light, enabling it to reach the indium-gallium arsenide (InGaAs) layer underneath. This design ensures high quantum efficiency, even in the visible wavelength. Minimizing image quality differences between wavelengths enables versatile use in various industrial applications, contributing to improved reliability in inspection, recognition, and measurement applications.

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