Sony stacked camera sensor promises better dynamic range, more

Eric Zeman / Android Authority


  • Sony has announced a stacked camera sensor for smartphones.
  • This technology sees photodiodes and pixel transistors occupying different substrates.
  • Sony says this innovation will lead to a wider dynamic range and less noise.

Sony is one of the world’s leading camera sensor manufacturers, alongside Samsung and Omnivision. The company is generally a leader in smartphone photography and has just announced another promising innovation in the space.

The Japanese company announced what it calls the world’s first stacked CMOS image sensor with “2-Layer Transistor Pixel”. So what exactly does this mean?

While the photodiodes and pixel transistors of conventional CMOS image sensors occupy the same substrate, Sony’s new technology separates photodiodes and pixel transistors on different substrate layers.

Sony also posted an image to give people a better idea of ​​what has changed compared to conventional sensors. You can view this photo below.

Sony stacked camera sensor December 2021

Sony says this solution doubles a sensor’s saturation signal level and therefore results in a wider dynamic range. The company adds that moving the pixel transistors to a separate substrate frees up space to increase the size of the so-called amp transistors. It explains that larger amplifier transistors result in significantly less noise, which should be beneficial for low-light photography. The company adds that this technology will allow a sensor’s pixels to maintain or improve their existing performance, even at smaller pixel sizes.

In other words, it sounds like Sony thinks this technology could hold the key for higher-resolution, smaller-pixelated smartphone cameras. So this could be an important factor if the company wants to follow in Samsung’s footsteps and offer 108MP or 200MP cameras.

Sony confirmed that this technology is intended for smartphones, but did not provide a timeline for when we would expect the first sensors with this layout. Nevertheless, it is still quite fascinating to see camera sensor manufacturers continue to innovate in this area.

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