More recently we have seen a significant increase of resolution in high-end mobile image sensors, with market leaders Sony and Samsung launching sensors with pixel counts that are firmly in medium format camera territory.

However, in the mobile world, the high resolutions aren't so much about an increase in detail. Instead, they allow for improved digital zooming with only a small loss in detail, and the option to use pixel-binning methods in difficult light conditions in order to improve noise levels.

Samsung has now published a video and blog post detailing the technology and improvements in its ISOCELL Bright HMX 108MP sensor that is deployed in the Xiaomi Mi Note 10 Pro and will likely also be used in the upcoming Galaxy S11 series.

The sensor's large 1/1.33" surface combined with 0.8μm-sized pixels allows for the massive pixel count and increased light gathering capability compared to smaller variants. It uses Samsung’s ISOCELL Plus technology which minimizes optical loss and pixel crosstalk by installing a barrier around each pixel.

Previously this barrier was made from metal. In this latest generation of ISOCELL sensors, it is now made from an 'innovative new material that minimizes optical loss and light reflection'. Samsung says the material also allows the photodiode to absorb more light, allowing for much better performance than you would usually get from such small pixels.

In addition, Samsung has implemented its Smart-ISO technology which lets the sensor pick the best level of signal amplification for a given lighting situation, reducing highlight clipping and noise levels.

Samsung’s Tetracell Technology helps increase performance in low light by merging clusters of four pixels into single pixels, combining the native 0.8μm pixels into larger 1.6μm ones. Even in this mode, the ISOCELL Bright HMX sensor can still deliver 27MP image output which should be more than enough for any mobile application. The complete article is available on the Samsung website.