Agilent Technologies Announces Industry's First 1.3 Megapixel CMOS Image Sensor with Enhanced-Performance Pixel Architecture

PALO ALTO, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Oct. 10, 2005--Agilent Technologies Inc. (NYSE:A) today introduced a single-chip 1.3 megapixel CMOS image sensor featuring an enhanced-performance (EP) pixel architecture that allows mobile phones and computing devices to take sharper, truer color photos in all lighting conditions. The new image sensor, with its 10X reduction in noise, eliminates the CMOS-CCD image-quality gap and targets high-image-quality megapixel mobile phone, computing, security and industrial applications.

The sensor's on-chip image processing and JPEG compression eliminates the need for a space-consuming, power-hungry companion chip and reduces design complexity and time to market. Agilent's proprietary EP pixel architecture leverages several design innovations, such as 3-D pixel e-field shaping(1), to better address the three major challenges faced by all CMOS image sensors: keeping noise down in very low-light conditions, maintaining true color uniformity for sharpness and color accuracy, and improving pixel consistency through reduced manufacturing variability.

The EP pixel architecture maximizes photodiode area in a highly symmetric 3.3 micron active-pixel design that provides a 10X reduction in dark current and surface-state noise for richer, more brilliant color-image reproduction. In addition to lower noise and dark current, it delivers lower crosstalk, higher blue sensitivity and true correlated double sampling. It also includes patent-pending innovations that significantly reduce image lag for superior results in low-light and video applications.

"The sensor is the critical link in capturing high-quality light data and feeding the image processor with the most signal, least noise and sharpest definition raw data," said Feisal Mosleh, director of Mobile Imaging Marketing in Agilent's Semiconductor Products Group. "Our new EP pixel architecture offers best-in-class data capture, resulting in remarkable low-light performance and deep contrast for incredibly sharp and brilliant color images at all light levels. At 1.3 megapixels, the color reproduction, low-light performance and image sharpness is industry-best. We intend to implement our enhanced-performance pixel architecture at higher resolutions to produce digital still-camera-like results."

"Our close cooperation with Agilent on 0.18 micron CMOS image sensor process improvements has resulted in a more consistent process with greater uniformity and better yield," said Ken Chen, director of mainstream platform marketing at TSMC. "We look forward to applying this improved EP process to all of Agilent's future multi-megapixel imaging system chips."

ADDC-3960 EP 1.3 Megapixel Image Sensor

The Agilent ADCC-3960 EP is the industry's most advanced one-third optical format, 1.3 megapixel system-on-chip. It incorporates a CMOS image sensor with an enhanced image processor and seventh-generation JPEG compression engine.

The sensor is capable of 15 frames per second at full SXGA resolution, and 30 frames per second in VGA mode. It has a pixel size of 3.3 micron square and contains 1,280 horizontal by 1,024 vertical active pixels. The ADCC-3960 EP also incorporates a 10-bit A/D converter and offers these key image-processing features:

-- Special-effects generator with "blue people," black & white, sepia, solarization and 20 other special effects(1).

-- Adaptive compression that ensures highest-quality JPEG compression with no dropped frames(1).

-- Advanced exposure control for brighter non-flash images(1).

-- Enhanced automatic pixel correction that's 5X better than conventional bad pixel amelioration(1).

-- True color image processing that's better than advanced auto white balance(1).

-- Programmable dual LED and Xenon flash strobe synchronization(1).

-- Locally adaptive color noise suppression(1).

-- Smooth 4X digital zoom to emulate an optical zoom movement(1).

-- Anti-vignetting that provides automatic correction for lens shading effects.

-- Picture sharpening and adaptive tone mapping.

-- Auto flicker correction.

U.S. Pricing and Availability

The Agilent ADCC-3960 CMOS image sensor is sampling now and available in production volumes through Agilent's direct sales channel. Please contact Agilent for pricing.

Agilent expects to sample an EP-based 2-megapixel CMOS image sensor in early 2006. Further information on Agilent's CMOS image sensors is available at www.agilent.com/view/imaging.

Agilent's Mobile Appliance Solutions

Agilent is a leading supplier of semiconductor solutions for today's highly integrated, feature-rich mobile handsets. In addition to CMOS image sensors that enable camera phones and notebook/mobile cams, Agilent provides FBAR filters and E-pHEMT and HBT power amplifiers that save battery life and help shrink handset size, infrared transceivers for transmitting data, surface-mount LEDs that provide backlighting styling options, proximity sensors that automate the speakerphone, and ambient light photo sensors that save battery life by controlling backlighting. No other component vendor offers all of these solutions for mobile appliances. More information about Agilent's family of mobile appliance semiconductor solutions is available at www.agilent.com/view/mobile.

About Agilent Technologies

Agilent Technologies Inc. (NYSE:A) is the world's premier measurement company and a technology leader in communications, electronics, life sciences and chemical analysis. The company's 28,000 employees serve customers in more than 110 countries. Agilent had net revenue of $7.2 billion in fiscal year 2004. Information about Agilent is available on the Web at www.agilent.com.

(1) Agilent proprietary advantage.

NOTE TO EDITORS: Please direct reader inquiries to Agilent Semiconductor Products Group at +1 800 235 0312, or e-mail us at semiconductorsupport@agilent.com. Further technology, corporate citizenship and executive news is available on the Agilent news site at www.agilent.com/go/news.

Contacts

Agilent Technologies Inc. Mark Alden, 408-435-6905 mark_alden@agilent.com or Weber Shandwick, for Agilent Elvia Soltero, 408-530-8400 ext. 2226 esoltero@webershandwick.com