OmniVision Taps into NIR for Machine- and Night-Vision Apps

October 18, 2017 Rich Nass

Near-infrared (NIR) technology lets your machine see things that the human eye can’t see. That’s a necessary requirement in many applications, especially the now-popular machine-vision applications. To that end, OmniVision Technologies, has developed a technology called Nyxel, that leverages unique silicon semiconductor architectures and processes to get around challenges that appeared in existing NIR image sensors. The result is an increase in quantum efficiency (QE) of up to 3X at 850 nm and 5X at 940 nm. Applications that can benefit from these advances include surveillance, machine-vision, and automotive applications.

These improvements in NIR sensitivity enable the image sensor to see better and farther under the same amount of light, extending the image detection range. Conversely, to match the performance of existing systems, cameras equipped with Nyxel technology generally require fewer LEDs, thereby reducing power consumption.

Conventional approaches to NIR rely on thick silicon to improve NIR image-sensor sensitivity. However, this results in crosstalk and reduces the modulation transfer function (MTF). OmniVision has been able to overcome some of these challenges thanks to foundry improvements, specifically careful management of the wafer’s surface texture.

About the Author

Rich Nass

Richard Nass is the Executive Vice-President of OpenSystems Media. His key responsibilities include setting the direction for all aspects of OpenSystems Media’s Embedded and IoT product portfolios, including web sites, e-newsletters, print and digital magazines, and various other digital and print activities. He was instrumental in developing the company's on-line educational portal, Embedded University. Previously, Nass was the Brand Director for UBM’s award-winning Design News property. Prior to that, he led the content team for UBM Canon’s Medical Devices Group, as well all custom properties and events in the U.S., Europe, and Asia. Nass has been in the engineering OEM industry for more than 25 years. In prior stints, he led the Content Team at EE Times, handling the Embedded and Custom groups and the TechOnline DesignLine network of design engineering web sites. Nass holds a BSEE degree from the New Jersey Institute of Technology.

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