Samsung chases Sony with smallest-yet 0.7μm-pixel mobile image sensor

2019.09.25 11:27:35 | 2019.09.25 13:22:23

[Photo provided by Samsung Electronics Co.]이미지 확대

[Photo provided by Samsung Electronics Co.]

Samsung Electronics under the goal of dominating system chip market by 2030 released a milestone image sensor with the smallest-yet pixel size currently available in the market, enabling handset makers to maintain sleek design while providing upgraded imaging experiences.

The chipmaker Tuesday introduced the industry’s first 0.7μm pixel image sensor, the 43.7-megapixel Samsung ISOCELL Slim GH1. Thanks to advanced ISOELL Plus technology, the new ultra-high-resolution GH1 image sensor embraces 43.7-million 0.7μm-sized pixels in a super-small package, providing the optimum solution for slim full-display devices.

Samsung Electronics aims to start mass producing the ISOCELL Slim GH1 by the end of this year.

An image sensor converting incident light through a camera lens into electrical signals goes on smartphones, cars, digital cameras and many others.

A pixel is the smallest controllable element of a digital image represented on the screen. The latest Samsung invention has 43.7 million pixels to form a single image, beating Sony, a leader in the world’s imaging sensor market, that offers 48-million 0.8μm-sized pixels for mobile applications.

[Photo provided by Samsung Electronics Co.]이미지 확대

[Photo provided by Samsung Electronics Co.]

By utilizing ISOCELL Plus, Samsung’s latest pixel isolation technology that minimizes color cross-talk and optical loss, the tiny 0.7μm pixels are able to absorb sufficient light information to produce bright and vivid photographs. For video recording at 4K (3,840×2,160) resolutions, the ISOCELL Slim GH1, with a high resolution of 7,968×5,480, is able to take 4K videos with minimum loss in field of view, while most high-resolution image sensors crop or scale down full image resolutions that result in a reduced FoV. Using Tetracell technology, the GH1 is converted down to 3,984×2,740, a resolution that snugly covers the 4K resolution, allowing users to capture more detailed backgrounds when recording high-resolution videos or selfies at 60T frames per second, the company said in a statement.

In May, Samsung Electronics unveiled two new 0.8μm pixel image sensors, expanding its micro image sensor lineup from existing 20Mp to ultra-high 64Mp resolutions. The two image sensors are in commercial production.

Demand for smaller image sensors is expected to increase sharply as the latest smartphones are designed to be bezeless for a larger display, requiring a smaller footprint of front-facing cameras.

Since the Korean tech giant earlier this year vowed to become global No. 1 system chip producer by 2030, it has been rapidly narrowing the technological gap with current No. 1 Sony in the imaging sensor market.

By Hwang Soon-min and Minu Kim

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