On July 29, Samsung announced that it will mass-produce 1.0 µm 16-megapixel CMOS image sensors.
After mass-producing application processors using the production process of 14-nm FinFETs, the Korean tech giant has also succeeded in reducing the size of light-sensing pixels to 1.0 µm through its ISOCELL tech. It shows that the company is leading the technological advancement of the semiconductor market for mobile systems.
The use of a 16-megapixel image sensor with 1.0 µm pixels, which is the smallest size that can be realized at the moment, makes it possible to reduce the distance between the lens and the image sensor. Therefore, it is possible to minimize the size and width of a camera module. The product is especially optimized for ultra-slim mobile devices that require a high-resolution camera function.
In the case of a camera module using the newly-developed image sensor, it is possible to reduce the thickness of the camera by up to 5mm. The camera module with the new image sensor is around 20 percent thinner than the existing 16-megapixel camera module with 1.12 µm size pixels, which proves that the new image sensor can be used in thinner smartphones.
To make smaller sensor modules with the same number of pixels, the size of the pixels should be reduced. However, a decrease in the size of the pixels only results in a reduction in the amount of absorbed light, which might lower image quality.
Samsung was able to reduce the loss of light using its ISOCELL tech capable of isolating adjacent pixels, and thus minimizing undesired electrical crosstalk between pixels, an interference phenomenon where light that enters each pixel influences adjacent ones. As a result, the company successfully realized an equivalent level of image quality offered by existing 1.12µm pixels with the 1.0µm pixels.