www.dpreview.com
www.dpreview.com

Matsushita's Next-Generation Image Sensor

Feb 18, 2004 at 22:05 GMT

Matsushita, best known for its Panasonic brand, has recently announced the development of its next-generation image sensor "v(nu)MAICOVICON". Compared to the conventional image sensors, the new product has advantages such as less power consumption than the CCD image sensors, and higher quality image production compared to CMOS image sensors. Mass production of the sensors will start this month. Future models will feature increased number of pixels and enhanced performance speed, capable to be applied to AV-related products such as digital still cameras, digital video cameras.

Press Release:

Matsushita Electric (Panasonic) Develops the Industry Smallest Pixel Sized Image Sensors for Mobile Phone Use

Tokyo, Japan, Feb 13, 2004 16:23 (JST) - (JCN Newswire) - Matsushita Electric Industrial Co., Ltd., best known for its Panasonic brand of consumer electronics and digital communication products, today announced the development of the next-generation image sensor "v(nu)MAICOVICON" which is the smallest in the industry suitable for mobile phone use to achieve both high picture quality and low power consumption. Compared to the conventional image sensors, the new product has advantages such as less power consumption than the CCD (Charge Coupled Device) image sensors, and higher quality image production compared to CMOS (Complementary Metal Oxide Semiconductor) image sensors. Mass production of the
v(nu)MAICOVICON sensors will start this month.

Achieving the industry's smallest 2.8 mm-square pixel size available for mobile phone use enables to layout 1.3 megapixels on a 1/4-inch sensor with a diagonal length of 4.5mm, letting the mobile camera to become more compact and thinner. With this pixel size, 2 megapixel models will cover only an area of 5.6mm diagonal length. The v(nu)MAICOVICON also contributes to the longer battery life of the mobile handset with Panasonic's new signal read-out technology, which consumes only about one-fifth of the power required for a CCD image sensor with the same number of pixels.

Expanding the photosensitive area on the same chip size by reducing the control wiring which hinders incoming light, the v(nu)MAICOVICON enables higher sensitivity, producing sharper images even when enlarged, compared to those taken with the conventional image sensors.

With its low-noise wafer process technology that suppresses rough image texture (like an image through an unwashed window), the image sensor can capture images more accurately, even under the low-light condition of five lux or less (equivalent to half the lightness of a nearby candle flame).

Mass production of 1.3 megapixel models begins this month, and 2 megapixel models of v(nu)MAICOVICON will start in March. The future models will feature increased number of pixels and enhanced performance speed, capable to be applied to AV-related products such as digital still cameras, digital video cameras, and in other areas such as security systems.

Click here for Panasonic Semiconductor