Sharper sensors

Kodak and IBM are to collaborate on the development and manufacture of image sensors in a deal that will mate Kodak’s image sensor technology with IBM’s CMOS processing expertise.

Eastman Kodak Company and IBM are to collaborate on the development and manufacture of CMOS image sensor (CIS) image sensors to power mass-market consumer products, such as digital still cameras and camera phones.

The collaboration will mate Kodak’s image sensor technology with IBM’s complementary metal oxide semiconductor (CMOS) processing technology. The result will be image sensors with higher performance, improved image quality and more innovative features than current CMOS image sensor (CIS) devices.

The explosion of consumer digital camera and camera phones has ripened the market for CIS devices, which offer simpler design and use less power. So far, however, CIS devices haven’t matched the image quality of charge coupled devices, or CCDs, the sensors found in most camera models. The new collaboration aims to beef up CIS devices’ image quality.

A key element of the joint Kodak/IBM CIS process is Kodak’s unique CIS pixel technology, including its proprietary pinned photodiode and 4T cell architectures. The Kodak technology, licensed to IBM as part of the agreement, permits the manufacture of CIS pixels that approach the size of the smallest CCD pixels offered today, with improved photosensitivity and lower noise.

The new devices will be manufactured at IBM’s semiconductor facility in Burlington, VT.

Neither company disclosed the terms of the deal.

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