In The Pudding
A while back, I wrote about an exciting new family of high-performance image sensors that is based on our most advanced CCD technology – the TRUESENSE 7.4-micron Interline Transfer CCD Portfolio. Leveraging technology originally developed for our 5.5 micron family of products, these devices provide a higher level of performance compared to their “little brothers”.
One key area of improvement is smear rejection, which addresses an artifact that appears in an image when a bright spot “smears” across an entire column of pixels (a technical description can be found in our application note). Smear rejection is typically measured in decibels (dB), with more negative values indicating better protection from smear.
To help demonstrate this improvement, the images below compare the smear rejection available from different generations of our Interline Transfer CCD technology. All three of these images were taken with identical exposure and lighting conditions, making it easier to directly compare these different technology generations. In addition, the traces below the images plot out the intensity of the smear signal found in each image capture to help quantify this information.
The image on the left was taken with the KAI-16000 Image Sensor and demonstrates the smear rejection available in our “legacy” 7.4 micron pixel (which was developed approximately 10 years ago). Here, smear rejection is measured as ‑80 dB (or 10,000:1) – which sounds pretty good, but from the image it’s clear that this may not always be enough.
The situation is greatly improved in the center image, which shows the performance available from our 5.5 micron family of products (as represented by the KAI-16050 Image Sensor). Smear rejection in this family of products is -100 dB (100,000:1), or a 20 dB (10x) improvement compared to the legacy 7.4 μm devices. This performance allows the devices in the 5.5 micron family to be routinely and widely used in applications ranging from Machine Vision, Medical, and Scientific Imaging to Intelligent Transportation Systems and Surveillance.
The image on the right shows the performance available from our new 7.4 micron family of products, as represented by the KAI-16070 Image Sensor. Smear rejection has now been improved to -115 dB (over 500,000:1) – that’s more than 5 times better than the 5.5 micron family, and an over 50x improvement compared to the legacy 7.4 micron pixel design. With this enhanced smear rejection, these devices provide the superior image quality needed for the most demanding imaging applications.
Today, there are three different devices available in our new 7.4 micron CCD family, each providing not only this high level of smear rejection but also offering a superior level of light sensitivity and dynamic range compared to our 5.5 micron products:
- The KAI-16070 Image Sensor is a 16 MPix device in 35 mm optical format (the same as the KAI-16000 Image Sensor), and is available today in both engineering and production grade.
- The KAI-04070 Image Sensor is a 4 MPix device in 4/3 (22 mm diagonal) optical format (the same as the KAI-4011, KAI-4021, and KAI-04022 Image Sensors), and has engineering grade devices available today. Production shipments are expected to begin at the end of Q3, 2013.
- The KAI-02170 Image Sensor is a 1080p (1920 x 1080) device in 1” optical format (the same as the KAI-2093), and is scheduled to have engineering samples available at the beginning of June. Like the KAI-04070, production shipments are expected to begin at the end of Q3, 2013.
But to really understand the performance available from these devices, you need to try them out yourself. That’s why we have Evaluation Hardware that supports all three of these devices (plus our full 5.5 micron family), making it easy to evaluate these performance improvements by testing them directly in your application.
Because in the end, that’s really where the proof is.