Sony Semiconductor Solutions has launched the first models featuring its 3rd generation CMOS Global Shutter with the IMX420 and IMX428 image sensors. Both models come with 7MP resolution, with the IMX420 reaching frames rates of up to 170fps at 10bit pixel depth. Both sensors achieve a saturation at 25.000e- for a pixel size of 4.5µm.
These sensors come equipped with the SLVS-EC interface and new features like High/Low Conversion Gain (HCG), Dual Trigger, Dual ADC and self-triggering to increase the maximum throughput for object recognition and quality assurance of moving objects in machine vision, robotics, and factory automation.
The IMX420 has a scalable bit depth of 8, 10, and 12bits, and can be programmed for multiple regions of interest (ROI). The IMX428 sensor, optimised for ITS applications, is available only with 12bit, only one ROI window and achieves 35fps. The innovations of the 3rd generation CMOS Global Shutter Mode sensors deliver improvements, mainly in terms of image quality and speed. An increase in performance, based on these improvements, is realised through the improved detection quality in applications with moving objects. The higher saturation, combined with the low readout noise of about 2.5e-, can achieve a maximum dynamic range of 80 dB, resulting in improved light-dark detection that is feasible even in difficult lighting conditions.
Sibel Yorulmaz-Cokugur, Line Manager for SONY Semiconductor Solutions at FRAMOS, explained the new SLVS-EC interface: “Based on the different quality improvements, the existing standard interfaces would reach its limits transferring the high data volumes at faster speed. SONY has developed the SLVS-EC standard with eight lanes. It answers the increasing demands in resolution and speed and doubles the maximum output to 18.4Gbps compared to the second generation (9.5Gbps)."
The IMX420 sensor is equipped with four additional features: The High Conversion Gain (HCG) allows the acquisition of images with better quality under low light conditions. This is achieved by increasing the conversion gain of the pixels while keeping the noise contribution of the analog circuit constant. Conversely, the Low Conversion Gain mode (LCG) is used under bright illumination conditions, being realised by lowering the conversion gain of the pixel. Dual triggering allows the possibility of different exposure times and gains in different regions of interest, to obtain an individual and effective image acquisition pipeline by using of two external trigger signals. The Dual ADC can read each pixel with separate gains. By combining the two images off-the-sensor a high dynamic range image can be obtained. The self-trigger feature, detects a change in a the predefined “sensing area” and acquires an image automatically when this change passes a certain threshold.
The IMX420 and IMX428, as the first sensor models featuring SONY’s 3rd generation CMOS Global Shutter mode, clearly show how the combination of high resolution and high frame rates, along with Global Shutter read-out technology boosts imaging quality and speed into new spheres. Mass production is scheduled around spring 2018, evaluation samples are now available at FRAMOS. Industry and product experts at FRAMOS are available to support customers with the integration of these new sensors in their applications and projects. In addition, FRAMOS also provides additional services like development support, customisation, and logistics to customers.