/Expertise/Imaging, sensing and actuation/Specialty CMOS image sensors

Specialty CMOS image sensors

Based on our technology platforms and extensive know-how, we can tune CMOS imager technology and design to realize your imager specifications, from development all the way to low volume manufacturing.

Our expertise

Our imager activities are based on a 130nm CMOS process technology on 200mm silicon wafers, including a dual gate module and MiM capacitors.

Our baseline platform is extended with a number of imager-specific process modules:

  • Special epitaxial silicon wafers.
  • Stitching for large area imagers.
  • CCD-in-CMOS process to combine the best of high speed, low power CMOS read-out circuitry with lowest noise, highest QE charge transfer domain CCD pixel technologies.
  • Backside illumination with custom (ARC) anti-reflection coatings for maximal QE performance with possibility for tuning photon collection in UV, visible to NIR (near-infrared) wavelength range.
  • Pixel level Fresnel lenses.
  • Hyperspectral filters.
  • Organic photodiodes.

Our solution

We realize your imager customized according your specifications, from design and development up to low volume manufacturing.

You can choose to which level you want to engage with us:

  • We can design and develop your custom imager, both at pixel and at imager system-on-chip level, including:
    • Fast and power efficient column analog-to-digital convertors.
    • Full imager architectural design including digital I/O.
  • We can develop your custom imager including integrated filters:
    • Our platform allows us to add 7 spectral filters to enable multispectral TDI.
    • Spectral filters can be post-processed on the wafer or on the glass lid.
  • We can deliver ceramic-packaged imagers.
  • We can develop your complete system design and the integration with readout boards and cameras.
  • We have prototype cameras available, compatible with the available TDI sensors, to evaluate your sensor solution.

Our technologies

CCD-in-CMOS for time delay integration (TDI) imaging

Our CCD-embedded TDI CMOS image sensors combine the high level of integration and power efficiency of CMOS technology with low noise, high speed, spectrally-flexible CCD technology. They are particularly interesting in remote sensing (CubeSat), life sciences instrumentation and machine vision applications.

Our CCD-in-CMOS technology combines single poly CCD photogates into a standard 130nm CMOS.

This technology is applicable for the imaging of scenes moving in a linear way:

  • Satellite based earth observation.
  • Drone based earth observation.
  • Industrial inspection.

Ultra high-speed imaging

Imec pushes the limits of fast imaging by maximizing the achievable frame rate. We realize this by leveraging a combination of:

  • Dedicated epitaxial silicon wafers.
  • Backside illumination including backside bias.
  • State-of-the-art CMOS mixed analog/digital design.

Backside illuminated CMOS imagers feature very high intrinsic light sensitivity and are extremely efficient in detecting (near) ultraviolet and blue light.

Our prototypes

We have developed several prototypes of TDI imagers using our CCD-in-CMOS technology:

Analog output TDI imagers



Array size

512 stages x 1024 columns

Pixel size


Stage selection

8 or 512

Full well




Conversion gain


Dark current



>99.995 at 400kHz

Supply voltages

3.3V, 1.2V and -1.5V

Digital output TDI imagers

Our single band imager specifiations:

Spec Target


Array size

4k x 256 per band

Pixel size


Stage selection

1-to-256 per band individually



Number of bands

1 band or 7 bands

#bands can be enabled

Line rate

Up to 300kHz aggregate (e.g. 57kHz per band when all bands enabled)



Dynamic range

>60dB – 40dB


>0.99995 at >300kHz


>90% VIS /wo color filters

>60% UV

Package type

Ceramic µPGA

Output type

32x 1Gb/s LVDS

Color filters

On glass lid or on the sensor

Our multispectral TDI imager:

We have developed a color or multispectral TDI imager based on our 7-band digital TDI. This is particularly interesting for airborne remote sensing, satellite imagery, life sciences instrumentation and machine vision applications.

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You could be one of these builders. Whether you are an engineer or an operator, a consultant or PhD student, we need a versatile group of people to help us create positive change.

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