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Sensors 2018, 18(2), 584; https://doi.org/10.3390/s18020584

QLog Solar-Cell Mode Photodiode Logarithmic CMOS Pixel Using Charge Compression and Readout

New Imaging Technologies, Impasse de la Noisette, 91370 Verrières le Buisson CEDEX, France
This paper is expanded from the conference paper: Ni, Y. QLOG—Logarithmic CMOS Pixel with Single Electron Detection Capability. In Proceedings of the 2017 International Image Sensor Workshop, Hiroshima, Japan, 30 May–2 June 2017.
Received: 10 November 2017 / Revised: 8 February 2018 / Accepted: 11 February 2018 / Published: 14 February 2018
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Special Issue on the 2017 International Image Sensor Workshop (IISW))
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Abstract

In this paper, we present a new logarithmic pixel design currently under development at New Imaging Technologies SA (NIT). This new logarithmic pixel design uses charge domain logarithmic signal compression and charge-transfer-based signal readout. This structure gives a linear response in low light conditions and logarithmic response in high light conditions. The charge transfer readout efficiently suppresses the reset (KTC) noise by using true correlated double sampling (CDS) in low light conditions. In high light conditions, thanks to charge domain logarithmic compression, it has been demonstrated that 3000 electrons should be enough to cover a 120 dB dynamic range with a mobile phone camera-like signal-to-noise ratio (SNR) over the whole dynamic range. This low electron count permits the use of ultra-small floating diffusion capacitance (sub-fF) without charge overflow. The resulting large conversion gain permits a single photon detection capability with a wide dynamic range without a complex sensor/system design. A first prototype sensor with 320 × 240 pixels has been implemented to validate this charge domain logarithmic pixel concept and modeling. The first experimental results validate the logarithmic charge compression theory and the low readout noise due to the charge-transfer-based readout. View Full-Text
Keywords: CMOS image sensor; logarithmic response; WDR; single photon detection CMOS image sensor; logarithmic response; WDR; single photon detection
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Ni, Y. QLog Solar-Cell Mode Photodiode Logarithmic CMOS Pixel Using Charge Compression and Readout. Sensors 2018, 18, 584.

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