iToF technology platform for 3D imaging and face recognition applications

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Tower Semiconductor and OPIX, a supplier of 3D Time-of-Flight (ToF) image sensor solutions, have jointly developed an iToF technology platform for 3D imaging and face recognition.

The platform features multiple depth sensing and distance measurement applications for a broad range of markets, based on Tower’s state of the art, pixel level wafer stacking BSI technology.

The technology is implemented in a high-end image sensor product that is being integrated into a 3D camera module in partnership with an industry leader of 3D cameras and imaging systems for mobile applications. This three-party collaboration has produced a sensor product suited to serve a wide variety of fast-growing markets such as mobile, AR/VR, retail, robotics, automation, and industrial inspection.

The platform has been developed using Tower’s 65nm pixel-level stacked BSI CIS technology fabricated in its Uozu, Japan facility.

Commenting Dr. Avi Strum, Senior Vice President and General Manager of the Sensors and Displays Business Unit, Tower Semiconductor said, “This highly advanced technology comprehensively meets the challenging requirements and specifications of a small sized iToF imager and demonstrates our notable capabilities and fervent commitment to provide our customers with market-leading imaging solutions”.

The first sensor that is currently being prototyped to customers features a 5µm 3-tap state-of-the-art iToF pixel incorporating a pixel array with resolution of 640×480 pixels. The BSI technology provides impressive levels of sensitivity at NIR wavelengths. In addition, the wafer stacking enables very high modulation frequencies of up to 165 MHz and 30 depth frames per second which results in industry-leading depth accuracy at short, mid and long-range distances even in challenging ambient light conditions by using pulse modulation iToF technique.

Advanced features such as multiple acquisition modes, depth with single and dual frequency, low-power standby modes and an industry standard MIPI CSI-2 interface, allow very versatile and flexible operation, providing a cost effective all-in solution.