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October 7, 2010

Sony commercializes world's first*1 16.41 Megapixel "Exmor R™" back-illuminated CMOS image sensors for mobile phones

-- Also announces industry's smallest and thinnest*1 lens module for mobile phones --

October 7, 2010, Tokyo, Japan - Sony Corporation (hereafter, "Sony") today announced the commercialization of two new "Exmor R" back-illuminated CMOS image sensors with dramatically improved photographic performance including significantly high sensitivity and low noise. In addition, Sony will launch two new lens modules equipped with these image sensors, which also include the smallest and thinnest*1 model for mobile phones. This is also the first time that "Exmor R" is commercialized for the use in mobile phones.

  • *1As of October 7, 2010
<Above> Lens modules: <Above> Lens modules: "IU081F" (left), "IU105F2" (right)
<Below> "Exmor R" back-illuminated CMOS image sensors:"IMX081PQ" (left), "IMX105PQ"
Model Name Shipment date (Plan) Sample price
Type 1/2.8 16.41 effective megapixels
back-illuminated CMOS image sensor
January, 2011 2,500 JPY
Type 1/3.2 8.13 effective megapixels
back-illuminated CMOS image sensor
April, 2011 1,500 JPY
Type 1/2.8 16.41 effective megapixels*2
Lens module "IU081F"
March, 2011 12,000 JPY
Type 1/3.2 8.13 effective megapixels*2
Lens module "IU105F2"
April, 2011 8,000 JPY

*2 Based on the effective pixels of the image sensor

"IMX081PQ" is world's first*1 type 1/2.8 back-illuminated CMOS image sensor which realizes 16.41 effective megapixel resolution, and adopts the industry's smallest*1 unit pixel size of 1.12μm. "IMX105PQ" is a type 1/3.2 back-illuminated CMOS image sensor which realizes 8.13 effective megapixel resolutions for higher sensitivity and adopts a unit pixel size of 1.4μm. By embedding these highly sensitive sensors into mobile phones, including those without camera flash, users can capture high quality photos and videos even in low light settings.
Furthermore, Sony will commercialize "IU081F" and "IU105F2" compact auto-focus lens modules which include the two new "Exmor R" back-illuminated CMOS image sensors. These down-sized modules are suitable and efficient for mobile phones with relatively limited space and are equipped with high performance lens which maximize the image sensors' respective performances. "IU081F" is the industry's smallest and thinnest*1 auto-focus lens module (W10.5 X D10.5 X H7.9mm) and is equipped with the 16.41 effective megapixel*2 CMOS image sensor. "IU105F2" adopts the 8.13 effective megapixel*2 CMOS image sensor, and belongs in the industry's smallest and thinnest*3 size class (W8.5 X D8.5 X H5.67mm).
Through its proprietary fine pixel fabrication process technology, Sony will proactively continue the development of "Exmor R" which adopts the 1.12μm unit pixel size for mobile phones. Accordingly, Sony aims to address customer demand by providing appropriately small lens modules especially for smartphones with large displays and limited space for components.

About the realization of high resolution
"IMX081PQ" is world's first*1 type 1/2.8 back-illuminated CMOS image sensor which realizes 16.41 effective megapixel resolution, and adopts the industry's smallest*1 unit pixel size of 1.12μm achieved by the fine pixel fabrication process technology. In theory, when a unit pixel size is made smaller, there are also some issues such as color mixture among smaller unit pixels. Sony solved this problem by implementing a unique formation of photo diodes optimally designed for fine pixel structure to realize a CMOS image sensor with high resolution, high sensitivity and low noise.

About manufacturing
Since 2009, Sony has been mass producing "Exmor R" for Digital Still Cameras and Digital Video Camcorders on wafer lines (with diameter of 200mm) at Sony Semiconductor Kyushu Corporation's Nagasaki Technology Center. At the end of 2010, Sony plans to start the mass production of "Exmor R," including those for mobile phones announced today, at Sony Semiconductor Kyushu Corporation's Kumamoto Technology Center, on cutting-edge wafer lines (with diameter of 300mm). Sony already announced (September 1, 2010) the investment of approximately 40 billion yen in Kumamoto Technology Center to increase production capacity for CMOS image sensors.

About Back-illuminated CMOS image sensor "Exmor R"
Sony first announced the development of "Exmor R" on Jun, 2008. "Exmor R" has been incorporated in Sony's digital imaging products since 2009, and its use in other products has continued to expand. "Exmor R" CMOS image sensor features Sony's independently developed back-illuminated structure, realizing significantly higher sensitivity as well as lower noise. In this back-illuminated CMOS image sensor, light is directed onto the silicon substrate from behind, allowing light to be used with a level of efficiency not possible with conventional front-illuminated structures.

<Sample image generated by "IMX081PQ", type 1/2.8 back-illuminated CMOS image sensor with 16.41 effective megapixels (left)>

IMX081PQ Comparison

<Sample image under low illumination (20 lux), generated by "IU105F2", type 1/3.2 Lens module with 8.13 effective megapixels back-illuminated CMOS image sensor>

IU105F2 Comparison

Main features

<Back-illuminated CMOS image sensors>

  • 1)CMOS image sensor with the world's first*1 16.41 effective megapixel resolution for use in mobile phones. ("IMX081PQ")
    --adopts formation technology used to create industry's smallest*11.12µm unit pixel
  • 2)Realizes high sensitivity and low noise through back-illuminated structure.
  • 3)Adopts Sony's proprietary "Column-Parallel A/D Conversion Technique", providing each column within the sensor with its own A/D converter, achieving high frame rates of 15 frame/sec (in all-pixel scan mode) and Full-HD video taking capability.

<Lens module>

  • 1) The industry's smallest and thinnest*1 lens module equipped with CMOS image sensor, lens and auto-focus functions in which the pixel structure and lens are optimally designed. ("IU081F")
  • 2)Approximately twice as sensitive as a conventional front-illuminated CMOS image sensor by combining back-illuminated CMOS image sensor and bright lens with small f-number. ("IU105F2")
  • 3)Equipped with 28mm wide-angle lens (35mm conversion) which is convenient for daily shooting.

Key specifications

<Back-illuminated CMOS image sensor>

Model Name IMX081PQ IMX105PQ
Number of effective pixels 4672(H)×3512(V)
16.41M pixels
8.13M pixels
Image size Diagonal 6.5mm (Type1/2.8)
square pixel
Diagonal 5.76mm (Type 1/3.2)
square pixel
Unit cell size 1.12μm□ 1.4μm□
Full 15fps 15fps
1/2 sub sampling 30fps 30fps
1/8 sub sampling 120fps 120fps
HD mode 1080-30P / 720-60P 1080-30P / 720-30P
Sensitivity 205 digit (10Bit) 310 digit (10Bit)
Saturation signal 820 digit (10Bit) 1023 digit (10Bit)
Power supply Analog 2.7 +0.2/-0.1V 2.7 +0.2/-0.1V
Digital 1.2 ±0.1V 1.2 ±0.1V
Interface 1.8 ±0.1V 1.8 ±0.1V
Major function 3-wire serial communication, I2C, serial data output, supports flexible input clock
Output MIPI 4,2,1 Lane MIPI 2,1 Lane

<Lens module>

Model Name IU081F IU105F2
Module size*2 10.5(W)×10.5(D)×7.9(H)mm 8.5(W)×8.5(D)× 5.67(H)mm
AF actuator Voice coil motor
Lens construction 4 groups 4 elements (Plastic)
F-number F2.6 F2.4
Focal length (35mm conversion) 28mm
Camera output MIPI (4 Lane) MIPI (2 Lane)
  • *1 As of October 7, 2010
  • *2Based on the effective pixels of the image sensor
  • *3Compared to CMOS image sensor with the same pixel count as of October 7, 2010
  • *4Dimensions show width and depth excluding flexible printed circuits
  • *"Exmor™" and logo are trademarks of Sony Corporation.
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