Sony unveils backside-illuminated CMOS sensor

Posted on Saturday, June 14 2008 @ 18:00 CEST by Thomas De Maesschalck
Sony has unveiled a new backside-illuminated five megapixel CMOS sensor that significantly improves image quality under low-light conditions.
Sony Corporation today announced the development of a back-illuminated CMOS image sensor (pixel size: 1.75┬Ám square pixels, five effective mega pixels, 60 frames/s) with significantly enhanced imaging characteristics, including nearly twofold sensitivity and low noise. This improved performance has been achieved by illuminating the backside of the silicon substrate, in contrast to conventional CMOS image sensors based on front-illumination technology.

The newly developed CMOS image sensor achieves a signal-to-noise ratio of +8dB(+6dB sensitivity, -2dB noise) in comparison to existing Sony CMOS image sensors of the same pixel size. Sony will apply this back-illuminated CMOS technology in consumer digital video camcorders and digital still cameras to deliver an even higher quality image experience.
More technical information can be found at Sony. Below is an image the illustrates the difference between a front and back-illuminated CMOS image sensor at low illumination (30 lux):

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