Sony Semiconductor Solutions Corporation (SSS) has announced the IMX900 image sensor, designed specifically for industrial applications. The sensor boasts a resolution of 3.2 effective megapixels and is compatible with 1/3-type lenses. The Sony IMX900 sensor also utilises a global shutter mechanism, which is crucial for capturing distortion-free images in high-speed conditions.
One of the key aspects of the IMX900 is its unique pixel structure, which enables enhanced light condensation efficiency and near-infrared sensitivity. This original design allows the miniaturisation of pixels without compromising key features that are essential for industrial image sensors. According to Sony, this structure achieves the highest resolution for a 1/3.1-type, global shutter system that is compatible with the S-mount (M12), commonly found in compact industrial and built-in vision cameras.
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The new Sony sensor aims to streamline various industrial tasks by finding applications in areas such as code reading in logistics and in automating manufacturing processes, particularly in robot-assisted production lines. With industries increasingly moving towards automation and manpower savings, Sony’s Pregius S global shutter technology plays a role in enabling high-speed, accurate and distortion-free imaging.
The Sony IMX900’s design has separated the memory unit from the photodiode to a distinct signal processing area. This move has enabled an increase in the photodiode area and, consequently, allows for pixel miniaturisation. The photodiode area also has an enhanced near-infrared wavelength sensitivity, nearly doubling the quantum efficiency as compared to conventional products.
The new structure has also led to improvements in incident light angle dependency and quantum efficiency, providing greater flexibility in lens design for cameras that will employ this sensor.
The IMX900 also includes on-chip features aimed at reducing post-production image processing. For instance, Fast Auto Exposure enables the high-speed calculation and setting of optimal exposure times. Additionally, Quad HDR expands the dynamic range by setting multiple exposure times in units of four pixels each. These features aim to streamline camera design, reduce cost, and improve recognition precision.
While Sony has announced the IMX900, details on its availability and pricing are yet to be revealed. What is clear, though, is that the sensor will find applications in compact cameras for barcode readers, picking robot cameras on production lines, as well as in automated guided vehicles (AGVs) and autonomous mobile robots (AMRs).
The sensor’s design and features make it a promising component for a variety of industrial applications where both compact size and high performance are crucial.