One of the longstanding research domains at imec is image sensors and vision systems. We design image sensors that have specifications that lie out of the reach of commercial sensors.
Imec's specialty imagers are used e.g. in space or in surveillance and inspection tools. They are designed e.g. for UV light, extreme speeds, or ultralow noise. Combining this world-class expertise with our heterogeneous integration processing platform, we can help you with prototyping and fabrication of specialty high-end CMOS imagers and vision systems. Imec develops and implements your ideas and concepts into a microsystem product, leveraging on imec’s advanced technology platforms, and state-of-art infrastructure. We do prototyping and low-volume production in house on 200 and 300mm wafers and can transfer the requisite manufacturing process to a high-volume foundry if needed.
Imecs state-of-the art 200mm CMOS pilot line is fully dedicated to More-than-Moore development and fabrication. This pilot line is unique for a research centre. It runs a .13um CMOS process in a 24/7 mode. On top of the standard processes, we have added a number of platforms. Platforms mainly for the processing of imagers and detectors, silicon photonics chips, and MEMS/NEMS.
Imec can also offer the use of its lens-free microscope for large field-of-view live imaging at micrometer resolution. This on-chip lens-free microscope can be integrated into life sciences and biotech tools, targeting multiple applications such as label-free cell monitoring, automated cell culturing, or automated high-throughput microscopy.
Compared to conventional optical microscopes, lens-free digital microscopy removes the need for expensive and bulky optical lens components to acquire and visualize microscopy images. In a lens-free digital microscope, images are captured on a CMOS image sensor, and digitally reconstructed using software. Imec’s lens-free microscope features a comparable micrometer-scale accuracy as traditional optical microscopes. While being much smaller and less expensive, imec’s microscope captures a larger field-of-view in one shot, enabling shorter sample processing times. The lens-free microscope paves the way to new applications with living cells and tissues.
Imec has developed a process for depositing hyperspectral filters directly on top of CMOS image sensors at wafer level. The combination of the production of filters and sensors in one CMOS-compatible flow, leads to an overall simplification and cost reduction, and enables mass production. Moreover the monolithic integration induces less cross-talk between neighbouring pixels and reduces the stray light in the system. Two different types of hyperspectral filters are available: a line scan and a snapshot version. Custom filters can be developed to match specific application requirements. Spectral filters can be tuned and designed for different number of bands, FWHM and different spectral ranges.