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Sony ICX624 CCD sensor
Dennis Hissink : January 5th 2006 - 16:25 CET
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SonySony ICX624 CCD sensor : The trends towards further miniaturization and increased pixel counts continue to progress without pause. Furthermore, market needs for improved imaging characteristics continue to increase as well. Sony is now releasing the ICX624AQN/CQV/CQZ diagonal 7.18 mm (Type 1/2.5) 6.04M-effective pixel interline CCDs. These devices not only achieve further miniaturization and higher resolution with a 2.03 micronunit pixel by taking full advantage of Sony’s unique fine fabrication technology, but also improve smear and other imaging characteristics over earlier devices. The trend in pixel counts in consumer digital still cameras is about to shift from the current mainstream, 5M-pixel devices to the 6M-pixel level.
Sony ICX624 CCD sensorSony CCD - 6 Megapixel sensor
These new products also include a “horizontal and vertical pixel addition function” that makes it possible for them to achieve 30 frames VGA resolution moving picture imaging. A further plus is that these device hold the supply voltage to an even lower level than earlier CCDs to achieve even lower power consumption, making them truly optimal imaging devices for compact digital still cameras. To achieve 6M pixels in the Type 1/2.5 size, which is the current mainstream in compact digital still cameras; Sony had to achieve a high-performance CCD with a 2.03 micron unit pixel.

Sony ICX624 specifications
- Diagonal 7.18 mm (Type 1/2.5), 6.04M effective pixels (2840H × 2128V)
- Pixel size: 2.03 micro unit pixel
- 4-field readout
- Supports 30 frame/s VGA moving picture imaging
- High sensitivity: 170 mV, Low smear: -90 dB (for still imaging)
- Low power
- New miniature package (QFN)

ICX634 CCD - High Sensitivity
Sony succeeded in increasing the light sensitive area in the ICX624AQN/CQV/ CQZ (the ICX624 Series) device pixels by reducing the width of the interconnects in the pixel block required for CCD drive to one half the previous width. Furthermore, to take maximum advantage of that result, Sony developed technology that enlarges the aperture area of the photo shielding film and, despite reducing the unit pixel area by 15% compared to the earlier structure, increased the pixel aperture area by 7%. The adoption of this technology allowed Sony to achieve a sensitivity of 170 mV despite the extremely fine pixels with a unit pixel size of 2.03 micron.

Sony image sensor - Smear and IC
To reduce smear, a type of noise that occurs when imaging high brightness subjects, Sony developed a new vertical register.To reduce the probability of contamination by the noise signal, Sony reduced the cross sectional area by 35% from the earlier structure. These improvements made it possible to achieve a smear of -90 dB (still imaging) in the ICX624 Series devices. Sony is also releasing the CXD3639GA programmable timing generator IC with built-in horizontal and vertical drivers. This driver supports not only VGA moving picture mode, but high frame rate readout mode and AF mode as well.

Sony 6 Megapixel CCD - Compact
In addition to the earlier SOP and SON package types, Sony also provides these devices in the new miniature QFN package. The QFN (Quad Flat Non-Leaded Package) package reduces the area by 36% and the thickness by 31% compared to the AQN package. Customers can now select an ICX624 device from an even wider range of packages to match their needs.

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