HSIN-CHU, Taiwan, November 21, 2000 - Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (NYSE: TSM), the world’s leading semiconductor foundry, today became the first foundry to offer 0.25-micron CMOS image sensor technology. The geometry reduction enables 3 Megapixel resolution for a broad range of high-volume applications, including digital-still cameras and digital video cameras for Internet-enabled PCs. This Camera-on-a-Chip capability also features lower power consumption, higher reliability, faster time-to-market and comparable resolution to the top-end Charged-Coupled Device (CCD) sensors currently on the market. CMOS image sensors deliver a system-on-chip (SoC) that integrates logic, SRAM and silicon-proven IP blocks.
TSMC collaborated with leading imaging technology companies Photobit and Y Media Corporation to pioneer the 0.25-micron CMOS image sensor process. Both companies were instrumental in analyzing wafers for functionality and performance.
“TSMC’s 0.25-micron process for image sensors extends our lead to as much as two generations ahead of our competition and further shifts the industry from CCDs to CMOS-based imaging technology,” said Dr. Rick Tsai, TSMC’s Worldwide Marketing and Sales Executive Vice President. “As the traditional role of the foundry has expanded to include technology leadership, We are honored to team with product innovators to drive technology advancements like our 0.25-micron CMOS image sensor process to market.”
“Y Media recently unveiled its 3.17 Megapixel CMOS-based image sensor, a high-quality imager that will match and exceed the performance of the current generation of CCDs in consumer electronics,” stated Ian Olsen, Chief Executive Officer and Founder of Y Media. “Of course TSMC was instrumental in pioneering the advance to a 0.25-micron process. This significant reduction in process geometry allows for both an increase in the number of transistors and fill factor without compromising performance, in addition to increasing pixel design options. Importantly, this process break-through contributes directly to more complex image sensor functionality, greater speeds, and lower power dissipation.”
“We were pleased to work with TSMC in evaluating and improving their 0.25-micron process,” said Eric Fossum, Photobit’s chief technology officer. “This technology will foster new advancements in active pixel CMOS image sensor designs.”
The dominant worldwide IC process, CMOS technology offers a number of advantages over CCD technology, including lower power, lower cost, and much higher potential volumes. Spurred by volume pricing and rapid chip integration, semiconductor revenues for PC cameras are projected to grow five-fold by 2002, and by 2003 should reach $1 billion in sales, according to market research firm Cahners’ In-Stat Group. By 2002, Cahners’ In-Stat forecasts, most PC cameras will be based on a single-chip designs, thereby reducing system size and manufacturing cost. Other CMOS image sensor applications include digital television, toys, security systems, and small cameras embedded in laptop PCs and hand-held devices.
TSMC’s 0.25-micron image sensor technology is available immediately. Designers can use the TSMC standard logic design kit. Current TSMC customers can also re-use other logic library elements such as SRAM and other TSMC-specific IP. TSMC includes SPICE libraries and the image sensor bit cell.
About Photobit Corporation
Photobit is a supplier of CMOS image sensors. Based in Pasadena, California, the firm owns the rights to high-performance image-capture technology invented at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, and Photobit has further developed this technology to make it viable in the marketplace. Applications for CMOS image sensors include: the PC video camera market, where