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Sony Makes Camera Sensor Breakthrough

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Dec 20, 2021, 10:29 AM   by Rich Brome   @rbrome

Sony has successfully developed a new world-first camera sensor technology that it claims will widen dynamic range and reduce noise. While the company's current sensor chips use a two-layer design, with a pixel layer and a signal processing circuitry layer, the pixel layer contains both photodiodes and transistors side-by-side. The new stacked design gives the photodiodes and pixel transistors a dedicated layer each. This allows the photodiodes — which convert light to electrical signals — to be larger, which approximately doubles the "saturation signal level", improving dynamic range. Additionally, giving the pixel transistors a dedicated layer allows the critical "amp transistor" to be larger, which reduces image noise. That, in turn, improves low-light image quality. Sony says the new technology will be applied to smartphones, but did not give a timeline.

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