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Sensors 2016, 16(4), 514; doi:10.3390/s16040514

Noise Reduction Techniques and Scaling Effects towards Photon Counting CMOS Image Sensors

1
Integrated Circuits Lab (ICLAB), École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL), Microcity, Rue de la Maladière 71, Neuchâtel 2000, Switzerland
2
Laboratoire de l’ Électronique et Technologies de l’ Information (Leti), Commissariat a l’ Énergie Atomique (CEA), Rue des Marthyrs 17, Grenoble 38000, France
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Albert Theuwissen
Received: 25 January 2016 / Revised: 24 March 2016 / Accepted: 6 April 2016 / Published: 9 April 2016
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Photon-Counting Image Sensors)
View Full-Text   |   Download PDF [791 KB, uploaded 9 April 2016]   |  

Abstract

This paper presents an overview of the read noise in CMOS image sensors (CISs) based on four-transistors (4T) pixels, column-level amplification and correlated multiple sampling. Starting from the input-referred noise analytical formula, process level optimizations, device choices and circuit techniques at the pixel and column level of the readout chain are derived and discussed. The noise reduction techniques that can be implemented at the column and pixel level are verified by transient noise simulations, measurement and results from recently-published low noise CIS. We show how recently-reported process refinement, leading to the reduction of the sense node capacitance, can be combined with an optimal in-pixel source follower design to reach a sub-0.3 \(e^{-}_{rms}\) read noise at room temperature. This paper also discusses the impact of technology scaling on the CIS read noise. It shows how designers can take advantage of scaling and how the Metal-Oxide-Semiconductor (MOS) transistor gate leakage tunneling current appears as a challenging limitation. For this purpose, both simulation results of the gate leakage current and 1/f noise data reported from different foundries and technology nodes are used. View Full-Text
Keywords: CMOS; image sensors; temporal read noise; 1/f noise; thermal noise; correlated multiple sampling; deep sub-electron noise CMOS; image sensors; temporal read noise; 1/f noise; thermal noise; correlated multiple sampling; deep sub-electron noise
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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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Boukhayma, A.; Peizerat, A.; Enz, C. Noise Reduction Techniques and Scaling Effects towards Photon Counting CMOS Image Sensors. Sensors 2016, 16, 514.

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