Canon Develops Ultra-large CMOS Sensor

Sep 2, 2010
Hideyoshi Kume, Nikkei Electronics
Canon's new ultra-large CMOS sensor (left) and 35mm full-size CMOS sensor (right)
Canon's new ultra-large CMOS sensor (left) and 35mm full-size CMOS sensor (right)
[Click to enlarge image]

Canon Inc developed a CMOS image sensor that measures as large as 202 x 205mm.

The CMOS sensor was developed for taking pictures of stars and animals at night as well as for security cameras. Because of its large size, it can collect more light, enabling to take pictures in dimmer places.

Compared with Canon's largest commercialized CMOS sensor (35mm full size), the new CMOS sensor is about 40 times larger. Its pixel count and pixel pitch are about 1.6 million and 160μm, respectively.

The CMOS sensor can take pictures with an illuminance of 0.3lx at a frame rate of about 60fps. In other words, it can take pictures with about 1/100 the amount of light required by the 35mm full-size CMOS sensor. The illuminance of 0.3lx is about half the brightness of a moonlight night

For manufacturing the new CMOS sensor, Canon used a 300mm wafer (diameter: 12 inches). When the size of a CMOS sensor increases, the time it takes to transmit data signals after receiving them becomes longer, making it difficult to enhance the outputting speed. This time, the company realized the CMOS sensor capable of shooting video by improving the circuit design to solve the problem, it said.