Toshiba announced a new 13-megapixel, 1.12 micrometer CMOS image sensor that promises to deliver high-image quality equivalent to a 1.4 micrometer sensor. The company did this by implementing back side illumination (BSI) technology and integrated color noise reduction (CNR) to make a sensor that fits into an 8.5×8.5 mm size camera module. As a result, smartphones using this sensor will have cameras that make high-quality pictures even in low-light conditions.
The problem with smaller image sensors is that the miniaturization of pixel size impacts performance of light sensitivity and signal to noise ratio (SNR). While BSI technology helps improve sensitivity, it falls short on elevating image quality. Toshiba combined BSI and CNR to address both low-light sensitivity and SNR. This in turn allows the Toshiba CMOS image sensor to provide approximately 1.5 times higher SNR value than a 1.12 micrometer pixel image sensor with no CNR feature.
As for when we can expect to see this technology integrated in smartphones, the company will start sampling its new sensors starting from next month, meaning that the first devices could hit the market at some point in H2 2013. We’ll see…
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