Kodak HD CCD Image Sensors with New Filter Pattern for Applied Imaging

The TrueSense Color Filter Pattern is an advanced technology that increases a color sensor’s sensitivity to light.

By Cliff Roth

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Video/Imaging DesignWire
(3/31/2010 3:12:25 AM)

Kodak has introduced new image sensors utilizing their proprietary “TrueSense” color filter patterns. They’re targeting high-definition image capture in applied imaging markets such as intelligent traffic systems and surveillance.

The TrueSense Color Filter Pattern – an advanced technology that increases a color sensor’s sensitivity to light – is built into the 1080p format Kodak KAI-02150 Image Sensor, enabling the capture of color images with the sensitivity typically associated with monochrome cameras, the company says.

Kodak is also expanding its HD image sensor portfolio with addition of a new 720p format device – also available with the Kodak TrueSense Color Filter Pattern – that provides high performance HD image capture in a 1/2″ optical format. In addition, both the 720p and 1080p image sensors will be available in a smaller, CLCC package configuration to enable development of more compact camera designs. Taken together, these announcements enable a new set of features and capabilities in markets that require high-quality imaging while migrating toward HD format image capture.

“Customers in applied imaging markets such as security and traffic monitoring continue to look for improved imaging performance and capabilities, even as they migrate toward HD format capture,” said Chris McNiffe, general manager of Kodak’s Image Sensor Solutions group. “By enhancing our HD image sensor portfolio – both our existing 1080p image sensor as well as our new 720p device – with Kodak’s new Color Filter Pattern technology, these markets can now access a new level of imaging performance, obtaining color information where it would not have been available in the past. And with the new, smaller package configurations available for these sensors, camera manufacturers can now design more compact cameras, enabling the deployment of this advanced imaging technology to more locations.”

The KodakKAI-02150 Image Sensor is the first CCD to deploy the KodakTrueSense Color Filter Pattern, an advanced technology that increases a sensor’s light sensitivity by adding panchromatic, or “clear” pixels to the red, green, and blue elements that form the image sensor array. Since these pixels are sensitive to all wavelengths of visible light, they collect a significantly higher proportion of the light striking the sensor. By matching this pixel arrangement with advanced software algorithms from Kodak, users can realize a 2x to 4x increase in light sensitivity (from one to two photographic stops) compared to a standard Bayer color sensor, providing a critical performance advantage for light starved applications.

To assist manufacturers in modifying their camera software to work with this new color filter pattern, Kodak has developed a set of tools that document the new image path used by sensors that deploy this technology. Providing both an overview as well as a practical implementation of the software algorithms used, these tools can be used not only to modify an existing image path to work with the new color filter pattern data, but also to compare the results of that implementation to a reference image path provided by Kodak.

This new color filter pattern is being deployed on the Kodak KAI-02150 Image Sensor, a high-performance CCD image sensor that provides full support for the 1080p image capture standard by supporting 1920 x 1080 pixel (16:9 aspect ratio) image capture at 60 frames per second – twice the frame rate of standard HD video. The sensor also provides broad dynamic range and excellent imaging performance – parameters that are critical for applied and professional markets.

Engineering Grade devices of the KAI-02150 with the KodakTrueSense Color Filter Pattern are available today, and Standard Grade devices are scheduled to be available in Q2, 2010.

The new 720p format KodakKAI-01150 Image Sensor is based on the Kodak TrueSense 5.5-Micron Interline Transfer CCD Platform, an advanced technology that offers significant advances in pixel size, frame rate, and image quality compared to Kodak’s previous generation of technology. With a resolution of 1280 x 720 pixels (16:9 aspect ratio) and a maximum frame rate of over 130 frames per second, the KAI-01150 meets – and exceeds – the specifications for 720p image capture. The KAI-01150 features a broad dynamic range and excellent smear rejection, and shares a common pin-out and electrical design with Kodak’s full portfolio of 5.5-micron pixel devices – allowing camera manufacturers to leverage camera designs across the entire sensor portfolio to shorten time-to-market for new camera products.

The KAI-01150 will be available in monochrome, Bayer Color, and KodakTrueSense Color Filter Pattern configurations. Engineering Grade devices of the KAI-01150 are scheduled to be available beginning in Q4, 2010, with Standard Grade devices scheduled to be available Q1, 2011.

Both the KAI-02150 and KAI-01150 Image Sensors will be available in Ceramic Leadless Chip Carrier (CLCC) packages in addition to the standard Pin Grid Array (PGA) package common to this product family. The CLCC design reduces the packaging footprint of the sensor by almost 50% compared to use of the PGA package, enabling the design of smaller, more compact cameras without sacrificing the underlying imaging performance of the sensor. In addition, the CLCC package retains the Device ID pin common to this product family, allowing a single camera design to easily differentiate between these sensors.

Engineering Grade devices of the KAI-02150 in a CLCC package are available today, with Standard Grade devices available at the end of Q2, 2010. Engineering Grade devices of the KAI-01150 are scheduled to be available beginning in Q4, 2010, with Standard Grade devices scheduled to be available Q1, 2011.