It Won’t Be Too Long Till We Have 12 Megapixel Cameraphones

Sony Corporation today announced the commercialization of “IMX060PQ”, a new type 1/2.5 CMOS image sensor “Exmor™” for use in camera enabled mobile phones that leverages Sony’s proprietary formation technology to realize the industry’s smallest unit cell size (1.4µm), and the industry’s highest pixel count*1 (12.25 effective megapixel resolution). “IMX060PQ” is designed to meet the increasing need for advanced image quality within mobile phone enabled cameras. Sony also announced the launch of “IMX046PQ”, a type 1/3.2 CMOS image sensor “Exmor™” with 8.11 effective megapixel resolution, and “IMX045PQ”, a type 1/4 “Exmor™” CMOS image sensor featuring 5.15 effective megapixel resolution.

Furthermore, Sony will also commercialize “IU060F”, a type 1/3.2 lens module with 12.25 effective megapixel resolution, and “IU046F”, a type 1/3.2 lens module with 8.11 effective megapixels. Equipped with lens and auto focus functions, the two modules are the industry’s smallest*1 and thinnest in their class, and with the launch of these products Sony will seek to enhance the enjoyment of taking high quality images using camera enabled mobile phones.

In recent years, the convenience offered by cameras in mobile phones has driven an increase in their use, while demand for higher image quality has also continued to grow. In addition, as mobile phone designs have become more refined, and models become smaller and thinner, the need for further miniaturization in mobile phone camera technology has also increased. To meet these requirements, improvements in both image quality and sensor miniaturization must be achieved, but the more the shrinking process is continued, the more difficult it becomes to gather light into the sensor pixels, leading to the risk of image degradation resulting from reduced sensitivity and S/N levels.

The newly developed CMOS image sensor “IMX060PQ” leverages Sony’s proprietary formation technology to deliver the industry’s smallest unit cell size*1 (1.4µm), and the industry’s highest pixel count*1 (12.25 effective megapixel resolution). The implementation of a Cu process that achieves extremely fine interconnections, together with the sensor’s unique pixel structure and improvements in condensing efficiency have realized high sensitivity levels and a high S/N ratio, despite the industry’s smallest*11.4µm size unit cell. Furthermore, Sony’s proprietary “Column-Parallel A/D Conversion technique” minimizes image quality degradation cased by noise that arises during analog processing, while also enabling higher pixel count and frame rates (10 frames/s for “IMX060PQ” and 15frames/s for “IMX046PQ”).

By enhancing its “Exmor™” range of CMOS image sensors, used in product lineups such as digital SLR cameras and high definition digital video cameras as well as mobile phones, Sony will aim to meet customer needs for advanced imaging performance comparable to dedicated compact digital still cameras in slimline, camera enabled mobile phones.

Here is a sample image taken with “IMX060PQ”, type 1/2.5 CMOS image sensor with 12.25 effective megapixels:

Major features

  • CMOS Image Sensor

1) CMOS image sensor with industry-leading 12.25 effective megapixel resolution for use in mobile phones
*Proprietary formation technology used to create industry’s smallest*11.4µm unit cell
2) Realizes high-definition image quality equivalent to compact digital still cameras
3) Realizes high sensitivity and high S/N through its unique pixel structure and lens
– Sensitivity equivalent to 90mV in 1.75µm unit cell
4) “Column-Parallel A/D Conversion method” achieves high frame rates:
– “IMX060PQ” : 10fps
– “IMX046PQ”/”IMX045PQ” : 15fps

  • Lens module

1) Industry’s smallest and thinnest lens module*1, also equipped with lens, auto-focus and Interface functions
2) Unique lens design to achieve high resolution
3) “Piezo” type lens motor that reduces power consumption when shooting video images*3
4) Equipped with 28mm wide-angle lens (35mm conversion) popular in digital cameras (“IU060F” only)

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