Semiconductor Manufacturing International Corporation, China's largest and most advanced semiconductor foundry, today announced a breakthrough in its development of backside-illuminated (BSI) CMOS image sensor (CIS) technology, with the first test chip demonstrating good image quality even in low-light conditions.
The complete BSI process technology, which has been independently developed by SMIC, will serve the market for high-end mobile phone cameras, and is targeted to enter risk production with partnering customers in 2013.
SMIC's success in BSI process development will broaden its CIS foundry service offerings to customers with five-megapixel and higher resolution phone cameras and high-performance video camera products. BSI sensors are more light-sensitive than frontside-illuminated CMOS sensors, allowing today's top smartphones to take brighter, clearer pictures at night or indoors. While driving its BSI technology toward commercial production, the company is soon to begin early development of next-generation CIS technology based on 3D integrated circuits.
"We are proud to be the first Chinese foundry to successfully develop BSI CMOS image sensors," said SMIC CEO Dr. TY Chiu. "CMOS image sensors are among the key value-added technologies that SMIC offers for customers in the mobile device and imaging markets."
"With this achievement as a stepping stone, our development team will drive the BSI sensor technology to timely commercialization," added Dr. Shiuh-Wuu Lee , SMIC's Senior Vice President of Technology Development. "This breakthrough further solidifies SMIC's position as the advanced technology leader in China."
Since the introduction of its frontside-illuminated CIS process in 2005, SMIC has become a major foundry for CIS wafers, primarily for mobile phone and consumer electronics applications. In order to provide turnkey CIS fabrication service, SMIC and Toppan Printing of Japan operate a joint venture, Toppan SMIC Electronics (Shanghai) Co., Ltd., (TSES), which fabricates on-chip color filters and micro lenses at SMIC's Shanghai site.