Many of today's digital cameras use image sensors known as charge-coupled devices (CCD). Their high photo-electric efficiency permits pixels to be packed tightly, producing high resolution arrays on reasonably sized silicon dies. Disadvantages of CCD include high manufacturing cost, high power consumption, and lower yields off production lines.

Unlike CCDs, CMOS (Complimentary-Metal-Oxide-Semiconductor) sensors are built in the same semiconductor process as most microprocessors, logic and memory circuits, and ASICs. As a result, many functions like DSPs, logic and micro-controller can be integrated on a single CMOS chip, whereas they cannot be with CCDs. This gives CMOS sensors distinct advantages including: higher yields (especially important in higher resolution arrays), less susceptibility to defects (single pixel defects in CMOS vs. entire row or column defects in CCD), operation with lower power consumption, and "off chip" communications that are fully digital.

Additionally, recent developments in CMOS sensors have dramatically improved image quality to be comparable with CCDs.

The overall impact of these advantages is CMOS image sensors are more cost-effective than CCDs for total image solutions.

As a result of cost-effective production, low power consumption and improved image performance, Silicon Film is able to use CMOS image sensors for high quality image capture in EFS products.

Read these articles to learn more about the advantages of CMOS image sensors.


By Peter B Denyer, Managing Director, VLSI VISION Limited

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