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Special Issue "Integrated High-performance Imagers"

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A special issue of Sensors (ISSN 1424-8220). This special issue belongs to the section "Physical Sensors".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (15 July 2008)

Special Issue Editor

Guest Editor
Prof. Dr. Edoardo Charbon

Chair of VLSI Design, Department of Microelectronics, Delft University of Technology, Delft, Netherlands
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Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

An increasing interest in new applications is driving significant research activity in the field of low-cost, ultra-high speed cameras. Such cameras must exhibit far smaller shutter time and jitter, while other properties, such as sensitivity, dynamic range, and linearity, may be traded off for speed. In this special issue we call for contributions on state-of-the-art in high performance imaging designs for a variety of new and conventional applications in science, engineering, and consumer fields.

Prof. Dr. Edoardo Charbon
Guest Editor

Keywords

  • solid-state imaging
  • CCD
  • CMOS APS
  • single-photon detectors
  • low-light-level imaging
  • night-vision
  • 3D imaging
  • high dynamic range imaging
  • time-correlated lifetime imaging microscopy
  • spectral imaging

Published Papers (11 papers)

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Research

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Open AccessArticle Noise Reduction for CFA Image Sensors Exploiting HVS Behaviour
Sensors 2009, 9(3), 1692-1713; doi:10.3390/s90301692
Received: 18 December 2008 / Revised: 4 March 2009 / Accepted: 9 March 2009 / Published: 10 March 2009
Cited by 12 | PDF Full-text (847 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
This paper presents a spatial noise reduction technique designed to work on CFA (Color Filtering Array) data acquired by CCD/CMOS image sensors. The overall processing preserves image details using some heuristics related to the HVS (Human Visual System); estimates of local texture degree
[...] Read more.
This paper presents a spatial noise reduction technique designed to work on CFA (Color Filtering Array) data acquired by CCD/CMOS image sensors. The overall processing preserves image details using some heuristics related to the HVS (Human Visual System); estimates of local texture degree and noise levels are computed to regulate the filter smoothing capability. Experimental results confirm the effectiveness of the proposed technique. The method is also suitable for implementation in low power mobile devices with imaging capabilities such as camera phones and PDAs. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Integrated High-performance Imagers)
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Open AccessArticle Thin Film on CMOS Active Pixel Sensor for Space Applications
Sensors 2008, 8(10), 6340-6354; doi:10.3390/s8106340
Received: 8 September 2008 / Revised: 23 September 2008 / Accepted: 8 October 2008 / Published: 13 October 2008
Cited by 4 | PDF Full-text (367 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
A 664 x 664 element Active Pixel image Sensor (APS) with integrated analog signal processing, full frame synchronous shutter and random access for applications in star sensors is presented and discussed. A thick vertical diode array in Thin Film on CMOS (TFC) technology
[...] Read more.
A 664 x 664 element Active Pixel image Sensor (APS) with integrated analog signal processing, full frame synchronous shutter and random access for applications in star sensors is presented and discussed. A thick vertical diode array in Thin Film on CMOS (TFC) technology is explored to achieve radiation hardness and maximum fill factor. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Integrated High-performance Imagers)
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Open AccessArticle Spectral-Based Blind Image Restoration Method for Thin TOMBO Imagers
Sensors 2008, 8(9), 6108-6124; doi:10.3390/s8096108
Received: 1 July 2008 / Revised: 7 September 2008 / Accepted: 8 September 2008 / Published: 26 September 2008
Cited by 8 | PDF Full-text (733 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
With the recent advances in microelectronic fabrication technology, it becomes now possible to fabricate thin imagers, less than half a millimeter thick. Dubbed TOMBO (an acronym for thin observation module by bound optics), a thin camera-on-a-chip integrates micro-optics and photo-sensing elements, together with
[...] Read more.
With the recent advances in microelectronic fabrication technology, it becomes now possible to fabricate thin imagers, less than half a millimeter thick. Dubbed TOMBO (an acronym for thin observation module by bound optics), a thin camera-on-a-chip integrates micro-optics and photo-sensing elements, together with advanced processing circuitry, all on a single silicon chip. Modeled after the compound-eye found in insects and many other arthropods, the TOMBO imager captures simultaneously a mosaic of low resolution images. In this paper, we describe and analyze a novel spectral-based blind algorithm that enables the restoration of a high resolution image from the captured low resolution images.The proposed blind restoration method does not require prior information about the imaging system nor the original scene. Furthermore, it alleviates the need for conventional de-shading and rearrangement processing techniques. Experimental results demonstrate that the proposed method can restore images for SNER lower than 3dB. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Integrated High-performance Imagers)
Open AccessArticle Monolithic Active Pixel Sensors (MAPS) in a Quadruple Well Technology for Nearly 100% Fill Factor and Full CMOS Pixels
Sensors 2008, 8(9), 5336-5351; doi:10.3390/s8095336
Received: 14 July 2008 / Revised: 1 September 2008 / Accepted: 1 September 2008 / Published: 2 September 2008
Cited by 31 | PDF Full-text (493 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
In this paper we present a novel, quadruple well process developed in a modern 0.18 mm CMOS technology called INMAPS. On top of the standard process, we have added a deep P implant that can be used to form a deep P-well and
[...] Read more.
In this paper we present a novel, quadruple well process developed in a modern 0.18 mm CMOS technology called INMAPS. On top of the standard process, we have added a deep P implant that can be used to form a deep P-well and provide screening of N-wells from the P-doped epitaxial layer. This prevents the collection of radiation-induced charge by unrelated N-wells, typically ones where PMOS transistors are integrated. The design of a sensor specifically tailored to a particle physics experiment is presented, where each 50 mm pixel has over 150 PMOS and NMOS transistors. The sensor has been fabricated in the INMAPS process and first experimental evidence of the effectiveness of this process on charge collection is presented, showing a significant improvement in efficiency. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Integrated High-performance Imagers)
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Open AccessArticle Single Photon Avalanche Diodes: Towards the Large Bidimensional Arrays
Sensors 2008, 8(8), 4636-4655; doi:10.3390/s8084636
Received: 28 February 2008 / Revised: 1 August 2008 / Accepted: 5 August 2008 / Published: 6 August 2008
Cited by 8 | PDF Full-text (627 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Single photon detection is one of the most challenging goals of photonics. In recent years, the study of ultra-fast and/or low-intensity phenomena has received renewed attention from the academic and industrial communities. Intense research activity has been focused on bio-imaging applications, bio-luminescence, bio-scattering
[...] Read more.
Single photon detection is one of the most challenging goals of photonics. In recent years, the study of ultra-fast and/or low-intensity phenomena has received renewed attention from the academic and industrial communities. Intense research activity has been focused on bio-imaging applications, bio-luminescence, bio-scattering methods, and, more in general, on several applications requiring high speed operation and high timing resolution. In this paper we present design and characterization of bi-dimensional arrays of a next generation of single photon avalanche diodes (SPADs). Single photon sensitivity, dark noise, afterpulsing and timing resolution of the single SPAD have been examined in several experimental conditions. Moreover, the effects arising from their integration and the readout mode have also been deeply investigated. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Integrated High-performance Imagers)
Open AccessArticle The Image Transceiver Device: Studies of Improved Physical Design
Sensors 2008, 8(7), 4350-4364; doi:10.3390/s8074350
Received: 26 June 2008 / Revised: 17 July 2008 / Accepted: 21 July 2008 / Published: 25 July 2008
Cited by 5 | PDF Full-text (170 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The Image Transceiver Device (ITD) design is based on combining LCOS micro-display, image processing tools and back illuminated APS imager in single CMOS chip [1]. The device is under development for Head-Mounted Display applications in augmented and virtual reality systems. The main issues
[...] Read more.
The Image Transceiver Device (ITD) design is based on combining LCOS micro-display, image processing tools and back illuminated APS imager in single CMOS chip [1]. The device is under development for Head-Mounted Display applications in augmented and virtual reality systems. The main issues with the present design are a high crosstalk of the backside imager and the need to shield the pixel circuitry from the photocharges generated in the silicon substrate. In this publication we present a modified, “deep p-well” ITD pixel design, which provides a significantly reduced crosstalk level, as well as an effective shielding of photo-charges for the pixel circuitry. The simulation performed using Silvaco software [ATLAS Silicon Device Simulator, Ray Trace and Light Absorption programs, Silvaco International, 1998] shows that the new approach provides high photo response and allows increasing the optimal thickness of the die over and above the 10-15 micrometers commonly used for back illuminated imaging devices, thereby improving its mechanical ruggedness following the thinning process and also providing a more efficient absorption of the long wavelength photons. The proposed deep p-well pixel structure is also a technology solution for the fabrication of high performance back illuminated CMOS image sensors. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Integrated High-performance Imagers)
Open AccessArticle A Dynamic Range Expansion Technique for CMOS Image Sensors with Dual Charge Storage in a Pixel and Multiple Sampling
Sensors 2008, 8(3), 1915-1926; doi:10.3390/s8031915
Received: 25 December 2007 / Accepted: 12 March 2008 / Published: 18 March 2008
Cited by 5 | PDF Full-text (346 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
A dynamic range expansion technique for CMOS image sensors with dual charge storage in a pixel and multiple sampling technique is presented. Each pixel contains a photodiode and a storage diode which is connected to the photodiode via a separation gate. The sensitivity
[...] Read more.
A dynamic range expansion technique for CMOS image sensors with dual charge storage in a pixel and multiple sampling technique is presented. Each pixel contains a photodiode and a storage diode which is connected to the photodiode via a separation gate. The sensitivity of the signal charge in the storage diode can be controlled either by a separation gate which limits the charge to flow into the storage diode or by controlling the accumulation time in the storage diode. The operation of the sensitivity control with separation gate techniques is simulated and it is found that a blocking layer to the storage diode plays an important role for high controllability of sensitivity of the storage diode. A prototype chip for testing multiple short time accumulations is fabricated and measured. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Integrated High-performance Imagers)
Open AccessArticle Applications of the Integrated High-Performance CMOS Image Sensor to Range Finders — from Optical Triangulation to the Automotive Field
Sensors 2008, 8(3), 1719-1739; doi:10.3390/s8031719
Received: 22 December 2007 / Accepted: 10 March 2008 / Published: 13 March 2008
Cited by 7 | PDF Full-text (448 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
With their significant features, the applications of complementary metal-oxidesemiconductor (CMOS) image sensors covers a very extensive range, from industrialautomation to traffic applications such as aiming systems, blind guidance, active/passiverange finders, etc. In this paper CMOS image sensor-based active and passive rangefinders are presented.
[...] Read more.
With their significant features, the applications of complementary metal-oxidesemiconductor (CMOS) image sensors covers a very extensive range, from industrialautomation to traffic applications such as aiming systems, blind guidance, active/passiverange finders, etc. In this paper CMOS image sensor-based active and passive rangefinders are presented. The measurement scheme of the proposed active/passive rangefinders is based on a simple triangulation method. The designed range finders chieflyconsist of a CMOS image sensor and some light sources such as lasers or LEDs. Theimplementation cost of our range finders is quite low. Image processing software to adjustthe exposure time (ET) of the CMOS image sensor to enhance the performance oftriangulation-based range finders was also developed. An extensive series of experimentswere conducted to evaluate the performance of the designed range finders. From theexperimental results, the distance measurement resolutions achieved by the active rangefinder and the passive range finder can be better than 0.6% and 0.25% within themeasurement ranges of 1 to 8 m and 5 to 45 m, respectively. Feasibility tests onapplications of the developed CMOS image sensor-based range finders to the automotivefield were also conducted. The experimental results demonstrated that our range finders arewell-suited for distance measurements in this field. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Integrated High-performance Imagers)
Open AccessArticle A Novel Pulse Measurement System by Using Laser Triangulation and a CMOS Image Sensor
Sensors 2007, 7(12), 3366-3385; doi:10.3390/s7123366
Received: 2 November 2007 / Accepted: 18 December 2007 / Published: 19 December 2007
Cited by 26 | PDF Full-text (2246 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
This paper presents a novel, non-invasive, non-contact system to measure pulsewaveforms of artery via applying laser triangulation method to detect skin surfacevibration. The proposed arterial pulsation measurement (APM) system chiefly consists of alaser diode and a low cost complementary metal-oxide semiconductor (CMOS) imagesensor.
[...] Read more.
This paper presents a novel, non-invasive, non-contact system to measure pulsewaveforms of artery via applying laser triangulation method to detect skin surfacevibration. The proposed arterial pulsation measurement (APM) system chiefly consists of alaser diode and a low cost complementary metal-oxide semiconductor (CMOS) imagesensor. Laser triangulation and centroid method are combined with the Fast FourierTransform (FFT) in this study. The shape and frequency of the arterial pulsation can bedetected rapidly by using our APM system. The relative variation of the pulse at differentmeasurement points near wrist joint is used as a prognostic guide in traditional Chinesemedicine (TCM). An extensive series of experiments was conducted to evaluate theperformance of the designed APM system. From experimental results, the pulse amplitudeand frequency at the Chun point (related to the small intestine) of left hand showed anobvious increase after having food. In these cases, the peak to peak amplitudes and thefrequencies of arterial pulsations range from 38 to 48 μm and from 1.27 to 1.35 Hz,respectively. The height of arterial pulsations on the area near wrist joint can be estimatedwith a resolution of better than 4 μm. This research demonstrates that applying a CMOSimage sensor in designing a non-contact, portable, easy-to-use, low cost pulse measurementsystem is feasible. Also, the designed APM system is well suited for evaluating and pre-diagnosing the health of a human being in TCM clinical practice. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Integrated High-performance Imagers)

Review

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Open AccessReview A Review of the CMOS Buried Double Junction (BDJ) Photodetector and its Applications
Sensors 2008, 8(10), 6566-6594; doi:10.3390/s8106566
Received: 8 July 2008 / Revised: 4 September 2008 / Accepted: 17 October 2008 / Published: 23 October 2008
Cited by 15 | PDF Full-text (1559 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
A CMOS Buried Double Junction PN (BDJ) photodetector consists of two vertically-stacked photodiodes. It can be operated as a photodiode with improved performance and wavelength-sensitive response. This paper presents a review of this device and its applications. The CMOS implementation and operating principle
[...] Read more.
A CMOS Buried Double Junction PN (BDJ) photodetector consists of two vertically-stacked photodiodes. It can be operated as a photodiode with improved performance and wavelength-sensitive response. This paper presents a review of this device and its applications. The CMOS implementation and operating principle are firstly described. This includes the description of several key aspects directly related to the device performances, such as surface reflection, photon absorption and electron-hole pair generation, photocurrent and dark current generation, etc. SPICE modelling of the detector is then presented. Next, design and process considerations are proposed in order to improve the BDJ performance. Finally, several BDJ-detector-based image sensors provide a survey of their applications. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Integrated High-performance Imagers)
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Open AccessReview Implantable Microimagers
Sensors 2008, 8(5), 3183-3204; doi:10.3390/s8053183
Received: 8 April 2008 / Accepted: 9 May 2008 / Published: 15 May 2008
Cited by 8 | PDF Full-text (3817 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Implantable devices such as cardiac pacemakers, drug-delivery systems, and defibrillators have had a tremendous impact on the quality of live for many disabled people. To date, many devices have been developed for implantation into various parts of the human body. In this paper,
[...] Read more.
Implantable devices such as cardiac pacemakers, drug-delivery systems, and defibrillators have had a tremendous impact on the quality of live for many disabled people. To date, many devices have been developed for implantation into various parts of the human body. In this paper, we focus on devices implanted in the head. In particular, we describe the technologies necessary to create implantable microimagers. Design, fabrication, and implementation issues are discussed vis-à-vis two examples of implantable microimagers; the retinal prosthesis and in vivo neuro-microimager. Testing of these devices in animals verify the use of the microimagers in the implanted state. We believe that further advancement of these devices will lead to the development of a new method for medical and scientific applications. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Integrated High-performance Imagers)

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