Kodak har kommet frem til en ny teknologi for sensorbrikker som skal kunne forbedre bildekvaliteten, noe som er særlig nyttig ved små bildebrikker slik som i mobiltelefoner. den samme teknikken bør imidlertid kunne anvendes på brikker for større kamera også.
Tradisjonelt måles sinalene som oppstår som et direkte resultat av hvor mange fotoner som treffer sensoren. Kodaks teknologi snur denne logikken på hodet i og med at bildet dannes ut fra hvor lite lys som treffer sensoren.
I tillegg har den aktuelle bildebrikken fått Kodaks RGBW-filter. Dette er en videreutvikling av Bayer-filteret som sitter i de fleste digitale kamera. Dette innebærer at noen reseptorer ikke har fargefilter, noe som skal bidra til mer nøyaktiggjengivelse av mørke partier i bildet.
Utdrag fra Kodaks pressemelding:
Eastman Kodak Company (NYSE:EK) is enabling a new level of performance in consumer imaging devices by redesigning the basic building blocks used to collect light and is incorporating that technology into a brand-new sensor.
The company has combined its recently announced Color Filter Pattern technology with a new CMOS pixel to create the KODAK KAC-05020 Image Sensor, the world’s first 1.4 micron, 5 megapixel device. Designed for mass-consumer camera applications such as mobile phones, Kodak’s new sensor enables a new level of resolution in small optical formats, using significantly smaller pixels. But unlike other small-pixel sensors which can produce poor images, especially under low light conditions, the 1.4 micron pixel used in the KAC-05020 Image Sensor changes this convention, providing image quality that can equal or surpass what is available from current devices using larger, 1.75 micron pixel CMOS designs.
Key to the performance of this new sensor is the KODAK TRUESENSE CMOS Pixel, a re-engineering of the fundamental design and architecture of traditional CMOS pixels. In a standard CMOS pixel, signal is measured by detecting electrons that are generated when light interacts with the surface of the sensor. As more light strikes the sensor, more electrons are generated, resulting in a higher signal at each pixel. In the KODAK TRUESENSE CMOS Pixel, however, the underlying “polarity” of the silicon is reversed, so that the absence of electrons is used to detect a signal. This change enabled a series of improvements to the design and structure of the pixel that ultimately results in CMOS imaging performance that rivals that available from CCD image sensors.
Light sensitivity in the new sensor is enhanced through the use of the recently announced KODAK TRUESENSE Color Filter Pattern, which adds panchromatic, or “clear,” pixels to the red, green and blue pixels already on the sensor. Since these pixels are sensitive to all wavelengths of visible light, they collect a significantly higher proportion of the light striking the sensor. This provides a 2x to 4x increase in sensitivity to light (from one to two photographic stops) compared to current sensor designs, improving performance in low light and reducing motion blur in action shots.
At 5 million pixels, the KAC-05020 provides the highest resolution available in the popular 1/4" optical format, and enables imagery up to ISO 3200 and support for full 720p video at 30 fps. The sensor is also supported by the Texas Instruments' OMAPTM and OMAP-DM solutions, enabling a host of KODAK Image Processing and Enhancement Features (such as digital image stabilization, rapid auto-focus, red-eye reduction, and facial recognition) that provide digital camera-like performance in a camera phone.
The new sensor expands Kodak’s portfolio of CMOS and CCD image sensors for consumer and applied imaging applications, and positions the company to take advantage of the growing demand for high-quality image capture in a variety of devices, regardless of size.
The KAC-05020 will be demonstrated by Kodak at the GSMA Mobile World Congress held Feb 11 – 14 in Barcelona, Spain. Samples of the KAC-05020 are scheduled to be available in Q2 2008.