Sony has announced the launch of World’s first stacked CMOS sensor which has two layers of transistor pixels that help it drastically increase light gathering capability.
In typical sensor design, photodiods and pixel transistors are placed on the same substrate but in this new design, Sony managed to place them on separate substrate layers. As a result the sensor is able to gather light twice as much in comparison to the traditional sensor, which improves the dynamic range quite drastically. It also helps reducing the noise.
Technically speaking, this new design doubles the saturation signal level of the sensor. Saturation Signal level is actually not a sensor’s light gathering capability but it is a major influencing factor in helping sensor to enhance the interpretation of light information in dim conditions. As a result, the light gathering capability is effectively doubled.
This new architecture design by Sony is an advancement of traditional stacked CMOS sensor where it separates the photodiods and pixels onto separate layers that are stacked on top of each other. In a traditional design, both are placed side by side.
This is a path breaking design, which will provide wider dynamic range even in extremely dim lit conditions. This will also help in packing up more pixels without compromising on the image quality or increasing noise due to low light.
As per Sony, this new technology will help in getting high-quality imaging in case of Smartphone photography. Looking at this sentence, it is apparent that Sony sees this design as an opportunity to improve image quality in smartphones without having to increase the sensor size.
Sony says that it will continue to work on this design to further improve the image quality. It however remained tight lipped on the timeline to start manufacturing these sensors.