LYON, FRANCE: Yole Développement has released a new report dedicated to CMOS Image Sensors Technologies & Markets. The aim of this study is to provide:
‐ Key technical insight about future technology trends & challenges (such as Backside Illuminated Sensors, Wafer Level Cameras, image stabilization & auto‐focus technologies),
‐ Deep understanding of CIS value chain, infrastructure and players,
‐ Key market metrics & dynamics of CMOS image sensors applications.
The CMOS Image Sensor industry is at an historic turning point
Image sensors have come a long way since the first introduction of CCD sensor technology in the 1990s. They jump in the 2000’s with the introduction of CMOS sensor technology which gave birth to the low cost, high volume camera phone market. Image sensors are now part of our everyday’s life: from cell‐phone cameras, to notebook webcams, digital cameras, video camcorders to security and surveillance systems.
In the future, new markets are also emerging such as sensors for medical applications, automotive safety features but also gaming and home TV webcams.
“The reason why we are now releasing the first report on CMOS image sensor industry is that we feel that we are at an historic turning point of this young, but still maturing industry” says Jérôme Baron, Market & Technology Analyst at Yole Développement.
Indeed, from 2010 and toward the next decade, the time has come that high‐end and low‐end markets start converging: digital cameras are on the way to get real HD video camcorder features. Meanwhile, camera cell‐phones with auto‐focus capability are on the way to get real digital still camera features along with basic video recording functionality.
2010: Year of the CMOS BSI sensor wave?
If you are following recent announcements in the digital imaging area closely, you may have noticed that CMOS image sensors are on the verge of making another giant step over CCD technology this year. And Japanese imaging companies seem to be leading the way in this area! Indeed, Sony made the first step last year by introducing its CMOS BSI sensor technology. The Japanese electronics giant is now mass producing the CMOS BSI sensor in its newest video camcorders and digital still cameras. But Sony is not an isolated case as in early January, many other announcements have followed and not only Casio but also Nikon, Ricoh, Samsung, JVC and Fujifilm all separately announced their first digital camera products using a CMOS sensor, based on BSI “Backside illumination” technology!
So, a lot of interesting announcements in the high‐end imaging market have happened early this year. But the low‐end image sensor market will not stand by and watch as it is expected that CMOS BSI technology will also appear into different smart‐phone camera products later this year. Omnivision is ready and currently sampling its second generation BSI image sensor. Aptina Imaging, Toshiba, Samsung and STMicro are also in the starting‐blocks.
Disruptive technologies for digital imaging industry
“As these markets will progressively converge, key enabling technologies will be developed and are paving the way to the future growth of digital imaging industry”, explains Laurent Robin, Market & Technology Analyst at Yole Développement:
• CMOS sensor technology will continue to expand and finally take the advantage in the remaining CCD application space as soon as 300mm infrastructure will build‐up in Asia and BSI CMOS technology will be made available.
• In the high‐end camera phone market segment, disruptive new camera module concepts including auto‐focus, zoom and image stabilization features will be developed and introduced to the market.
• In the ultra‐competitive low‐end market, the race toward Wafer Level Cameras and digital autofocus features such as eDoF (extended Depth of Focus) will enable the few remaining image sensor players to preserve their margins in this aggressive and cost driven market.
• Future CIS markets such as medical and automotive sensor applications will re‐use extensively all these newly developed concepts (BSI, WLC, digital zoom) plus will need new features to be developed such as High Dynamic Range and NIR capability.