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October 3, 2019

Sony to Release Six Types of Stacked CMOS Image Sensors with Global Shutter Function with Back-Illuminated Pixel Structure

Compact with Higher Precision and Speed in Recognition and Measurement to Accelerate the "Smartification" of Industrial Equipment

    Sony Corporation
    Sony Semiconductor Solutions Corporation

    Tokyo, Japan — Sony Corporation announced today the forthcoming release of six new types of stacked CMOS image sensors with a global shutter function achieved using a back-illuminated pixel structure for industrial equipment applications.

    These new sensors will be both compact and capable of high imaging performance without distortion of moving objects. They will employ Sony’s Pregius S — stacked CMOS image sensor technology, which comes with global shutter functionality made possible by Sony’s proprietary back-illuminated pixel structure, first announced in March 2019.

    As automation and labor-saving measures are increasingly implemented in factories and logistics, machine vision cameras play an increasingly important role. The Sony's new image sensors target these applications, delivering both compactness and superior imaging performance, with higher precision and speed in recognition and measurement, thereby contributing to improved productivity and the "smartification" of industrial equipment.

    IMX530 CMOS Image Sensor (left: black and white model, right: color model,)
    Pregius SPregius S
    Model name Type Sample shipment date
    (planned)*2
    Sample price
    (excluding tax)
    IMX530 1.2 type (diagonal 19.3mm) 24.55
    megapixel*1 stacked CMOS image sensor
    High-speed October 2019 210,000 JPY
    IMX531 1.1 type (diagonal 17.5mm) 20.35
    megapixel*1 stacked CMOS image sensor
    November 2019 182,000 JPY
    IMX532 1.1 type (diagonal 16.8mm) 16.19
    megapixel*1 stacked CMOS image sensor
    November 2019 142,000 JPY
    IMX540 1.2 type (diagonal 19.3mm) 24.55
    megapixel*1 stacked CMOS image sensor
    Standard October 2019 150,000 JPY
    IMX541 1.1 type (diagonal 17.5mm) 20.35
    megapixel*1 stacked CMOS image sensor
    November 2019 126,000 JPY
    IMX542 1.1 type (diagonal 16.8mm) 16.19
    megapixel*1 stacked CMOS image sensor
    November 2019 99,000 JPY
    • *1:Based on image sensor effective pixel specification method.
    • *2:The dates given for sample shipment date (planned) are for the black and white model samples. Color model samples will be available for shipment one month later.

    To achieve advanced automation in factories and logistics by, for example, replacing conventional visual inspection with an automated process, it is necessary to improve inspection precision and efficiency by shortening inspection times. As such, machine vision cameras performing these functions require image sensors with higher resolution and faster speed than has been available so far.

    Until now, increasing the number of pixels in image sensors to improve resolution has resulted in the downside of increased chip and camera size. However, if the pixel size is reduced to prevent increasing the camera size, then the light-accumulating area per pixel will correspondingly decrease, resulting in a drop in the sensitivity and saturation signal level. This results in image quality degradation, in turn leading to degradation in recognition and detection performance.

    The new Sony sensor products provide a global shutter function enabling imaging without distorting moving objects. The proprietary back-illuminated pixel structure allows for a compact size of only 2.74µm square, which is about 63% of the conventional pixel area,*3 but still maintaining pixel characteristics such as sensitivity and saturation signal level. While using the same optical system as previous models, the number of pixels has been increased and the package size (area) has been reduced to about 91%.*3 This makes it possible to achieve a compact C-mount lens*4-compatible machine vision camera with higher resolution for improved inspection precision.

    The new products achieve a readout frame rate approximately 2.4 times the speed of conventional image sensors*3 thanks to the highly flexible wiring layout of the back-illuminated pixel structure, and the use of the Scalable Low Voltage Signaling with Embedded Clock (SLVS-EC) high-speed interface standard developed by Sony. This results in shorter process time for measurements and inspections, contributing to significantly improved productivity.

    Further, the stacked structure allows for embedding various signal processing circuits such as the high dynamic range (HDR) processing circuit*5 that can prevent distortion in moving objects, thereby enabling myriad functions for various machine vision applications in a package more compact than conventional image sensors.*3

    • *3:Comparison between Sony's IMX253 and IMX531 CMOS image sensors (1.1 type, 12.37 effective megapixels)
    • *4:An industry standard mount for joining the lens and camera body.
    • *5:Installed in the IMX530/531/532.

    Main Features

    CMOS image sensor equipped with global shutter function delivering both high definition and compactness

    These new products achieve both compactness and high definition, plus distortion-free images of moving objects due to their stacked structures with the global shutter function made possible by the back-illuminated pixel structure. Sensitivity and saturation characteristics are maintained while achieving a size of only 2.74µm square, which is about 63% of conventional image sensors.*3 This allows for a resolution that is approximately 1.7 times higher than current standards for an optical system of the same size, with a package size reduced to about 91%*3 of conventional image sensors. This makes it possible to achieve a compact, 1.2-type high-resolution C-mount machine vision camera with 24.45 effective megapixels, enabling flexible installation in equipment and production lines.

    High definition allows for a larger imaging area,
    which in turn reduces the number of captures required

    High-speed readout of image data

    SLVS-EC

    The back-illuminated pixel structure offers a high degree of freedom in wiring layout. Coupling this with SLVS-EC, an embedded clock*6 high-speed interface standard developed by Sony, produces a readout frame rate 2.4 times faster than conventional image sensors.*3 This makes it possible to shorten takt time of production equipment and devices, and to improve throughput.

    Sony is providing an expansive lineup, including the high-speed IMX530/531/532 models for high-end cameras using high-speed bandwidth, in addition to the standard IMX540/541/542 models that support 5G bps supplementing the expansion in the application of USB 3.0 and 5GigE. These diverse products will contribute significantly to productivity improvements such as reducing the time needed for measurement and inspection processes for various applications, including inspection, image recognition, identification, and measurement.

    High-speed readout shortens time required for inspection processes
    • Imaging area: About 1.7 times greater (12.37 megapixels → 20.35 megapixels)
    • Number of frames: About 1.4 times more (3 frames → about 4 frames)
    • High speed (output data rate): about 2.4 times faster
    • *6:In this method, the clock signal is embedded in the data transmitted. Since there is no need to address skew between lanes, the method is suited to high-speed transmission and simplifies the board design.

    Realization of high functionality to improve usability

    The stacked structure makes it possible to mount various signal processing circuits, allowing for a CMOS image sensor that is both compact and highly functional. By arranging the signal circuits in a stacked configuration, it is possible to achieve many functions in a package that is more compact than conventional image sensors.*3 These include data optimization functions (ROI, self-trigger, etc.) that extract only the information needed from the image data, new features such as internal HDR processing using dual A/D converters preventing distortion in moving objects, and short interval exposure control, thereby responding to various needs in diversifying machine vision applications.

    Key Specifications

    Model Name IMX530 IMX531 IMX532
    Number of effective pixels 5328 (H) x 4608 (V)
    Approx. 24.55 megapixels
    4512 (H) x 4512 (V)
    Approx. 20.35 megapixels
    5328 (H) x 3040 (V)
    Approx. 16.19 megapixels
    Image size Diagonal 19.3 mm (1.2 type) Diagonal 17.5 mm (1.1 type) Diagonal 16.8 mm (1.1 type)
    Unit cell size 2.74µm(H)×2.74µm(V) 2.74µm(H)×2.74µm(V) 2.74µm(H)×2.74µm(V)
    Frame rate Full pixel 8bit: 105fps,
    10bit: 101fps,
    12bit: 73fps
    8bit: 106fps,
    10bit: 102fps,
    12bit: 74fps
    8bit: 155fps,
    10bit: 149fps,
    12bit: 109fps
    Sensitivity (standard value F8) black and white*7 2030 Digit 2030 Digit 2030 Digit
    Sensitivity (standard value F5.6) color*7 2571 Digit 2571 Digit 2571 Digit
    Sensor saturation signal
    amount (minimum value)
    10000 e- 10000 e- 10000 e-
    Power supply Analog 3.3V,2.9V 3.3V,2.9V 3.3V,2.9V
    Digital 1.1V 1.1V 1.1V
    Interface 1.8V 1.8V 1.8V
    Main functions ROI, self-trigger,
    short interval exposure,
    dual ADC (HDR)
    ROI, self-trigger,
    short interval exposure,
    dual ADC (HDR)
    ROI, self-trigger,
    short interval exposure,
    dual ADC (HDR)
    Output SLVS-EC
    (1/2/4/8 Lane toggle)
    SLVS (4/8 ch toggle)
    SLVS-EC
    (1/2/4/8 Lane toggle)
    SLVS (4/8 ch toggle)
    SLVS-EC
    (1/2/4/8 Lane toggle)
    SLVS (4/8 ch toggle)
    Color filter Black and white /Bayer filter Black and white /Bayer filter Black and white /Bayer filter
    Package Ceramic LGA 21.00 mm (H) x 20.0 mm (V) Ceramic LGA 21.00 mm (H) x 20.0 mm (V) Ceramic LGA 21.00 mm (H) x 20.0 mm (V)
    Model Name IMX540 IMX541 IMX542
    Number of effective pixels 5328 (H) x 4608 (V)
    Approx. 24.55 megapixels
    4512 (H) x 4512 (V)
    Approx. 20.35 megapixels
    5328 (H) x 3040 (V)
    Approx. 16.19 megapixels
    Image size Diagonal 19.3 mm (1.2 type) Diagonal 17.5 mm (1.1 type) Diagonal 16.8 mm (1.1 type)
    Unit cell size 2.74µm(H)×2.74µm(V) 2.74µm(H)×2.74µm(V) 2.74µm(H)×2.74µm(V)
    Frame rate Full pixel 8bit: 34fps,
    10bit: 28fps,
    12bit: 23fps
    8bit: 42fps,
    10bit: 34fps,
    12bit: 28fps
    8bit: 52fps,
    10bit: 42fps,
    12bit: 35fps
    Sensitivity (standard value F8) black and white*7 2030 Digit 2030 Digit 2030 Digit
    Sensitivity (standard value F5.6) color*7 2571 Digit 2571 Digit 2571 Digit
    Sensor saturation signal
    amount (minimum value)
    10000 e- 10000 e- 10000 e-
    Power supply Analog 3.3V,2.9V 3.3V,2.9V 3.3V,2.9V
    Digital 1.1V 1.1V 1.1V
    Interface 1.8V 1.8V 1.8V
    Main functions ROI, self-trigger,
    short interval exposure
    ROI, self-trigger,
    short interval exposure
    ROI, self-trigger,
    short interval exposure
    Output SLVS-EC
    (1/2/4/8 Lane toggle)
    SLVS (2/4/8 ch toggle)
    SLVS-EC
    (1/2/4/8 Lane toggle)
    SLVS (2/4/8 ch toggle)
    SLVS-EC
    (1/2/4/8 Lane toggle)
    SLVS (2/4/8 ch toggle)
    Color filter Black and white /Bayer filter Black and white /Bayer filter Black and white /Bayer filter
    Package Ceramic LGA 21.00 mm (H) x 20.0 mm (V) Ceramic LGA 21.00 mm (H) x 20.0 mm (V) Ceramic LGA 21.00 mm (H) x 20.0 mm (V)
    • ※7:Converted value using 1Digit = 0.2445 mV (during 12 bit output), 1Digit = 0.9779 mV (during 10 bit output), 1Digit = 0.9779 mV (during 8 bit output).
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