Sony Semiconductor Solutions Corporation (Sony) announced the commercialization of the IMX487, a 2/3-type CMOS image sensor for industrial equipment, which is compatible with the UV (ultraviolet light) wavelength and comes with global shutter functionality and the industry’s highest*1 effective pixel count of approximately 8.13 megapixels.*2
This product delivers a high level of UV sensitivity and high-quality imaging with minimal noise thanks to components specialized for the UV wavelength and a unique light receiving unit structure. Additionally, the pixels capture UV light with high efficiency, resulting in high UV sensitivity as well as a compact form factor and high resolution made possible by the industry’s smallest*1 2.74 µm square pixel size. It utilizes Sony’s Pregius S global shutter technology, which employs a unique back-illuminated pixel structure on a stacked CMOS image sensor, ensuring distortion-free imaging and high-speed performance.
Sony expects the new sensor to be useful in a variety of applications, including semiconductor pattern defect inspection in the existing UV camera market, thereby contributing to improving productivity in manufacturing processes and helping to solve industrial issues.
In general, UV cameras enable the sorting of materials that would be difficult in visible light, as well as checking for minute scratches and defects on the surface of objects. They have conventionally been used in semiconductor pattern defect inspection; however, to expand the scope of application in the future, demand has continued to grow for an image sensor that not only provides sensitivity in the UV wavelength but also delivers high resolution, low noise, and high-speed performance.
This product employs material with a high level of UV transmittance for the optical path components where light enters the product, in addition to a unique light receiving unit structure. This design ensures high UV sensitivity, enabling high-quality imaging with significantly reduced noise. Additionally, the pixels capture UV light with high efficiency, resulting in high UV sensitivity as well as a tiny 2.74 µm square pixel size, which helps achieve the industry’s highest*1 effective pixel count of approximately 8.13 megapixels*2 even on a compact 2/3-type format.
The new product also comes with global shutter functionality, which enables distortion-free imaging of moving subjects, and delivers high-speed performance at 193 frames per second (in 10-bit mode) thanks to the high degree of freedom of the wiring layout made possible by the back-illuminated pixel structure.
In addition to conventional UV image sensor applications such as semiconductor pattern defect inspection, the new product can be used to solve a variety of industrial challenges, including sorting plastics and other materials using UV light at recycling plants, inspecting for the application of transparent resin, inspecting for minute scratches on the surface of components, and detecting UV light emitted due to discharges in deteriorating overhead power lines.
The UV wavelength is shorter than visible light (400–780 nm), generally falling between 10 to 400 nm. The product is compatible with the 200 to 400 mm wavelength, which is the most suitable UV wavelength for industrial inspections.
In addition to employing material with a high level of UV transmittance for the glass of the image sensor upper section and the pixel on-chip lenses, a unique structure specialized for UV is employed for the structure around the photodiode to deliver high UV sensitivity while ensuring high-quality imaging with reduced noise. Also, the pixels capture UV light with high efficiency, resulting in high UV sensitivity as well as a tiny 2.74 µm square pixel size, which helps achieve the industry’s highest*1 effective pixel count of approximately 8.13 megapixels*2 even on a compact 2/3-type format.
The compact form factor and high image quality not only make this product suited to production line inspection applications but also makes it useful for addressing other challenges in applications such as outdoor infrastructure inspections, where portability and high resolution are required.
Sony’s Pregius S global shutter technology employs a unique back-illuminated pixel structure on a stacked CMOS image sensor, making it possible to deliver distortion-free moving subject imaging. Also, the high degree of freedom of the wiring layout afforded by the back-illuminated pixel structure enables high-speed performance at 193 frames per second (in 10-bit mode) for an image sensor compatible with the UV wavelength. This feature makes possible a range of applications where high-speed performance is required, including, for example, sorting plastics at a recycling plant using the UV wavelength.