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OmniVision launches second-generation backside illumination pixel technology
Press release, staff reporter, DIGITIMES
Wednesday 24 February 2010

SANTA CLARA, Calif., - February 8, 2010 - OmniVision Technologies, Inc. (NASDAQ: OVTI), a leading developer of advanced digital imaging solutions, today announced the introduction of the world's first 1.1-micron backside illumination (BSI) pixel. The new OmniBSI-2 pixel architecture represents a major milestone in digital imaging technology, and enables new imaging solutions with superior image quality and low-light sensitivity. The architecture also extends OmniVision's pixel roadmap to submicron levels, and serves as a key enabler in the continuous miniaturization of digital imaging technology.

"OmniBSI-2 drives the development of higher resolution image sensor solutions with an aggressive form factor and lower z-height for ultra-thin products," said Bruce Weyer, vice president of worldwide marketing at OmniVision. "OmniBSI-2 advances the digital imaging market by enabling improved image quality and enhanced low-light performance that dramatically improves the user experience in videobased applications. OmniBSI-2 technology can also be applied to larger pixel designs to achieve performance advantages that exceed current BSI and FSI imaging sensors."

OmniBSI-2 is OmniVision's second-generation BSI technology, and is the first pixel built on a 300mm copper process at 65nm design rules developed in cooperation with strategic manufacturing partner, Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC). By combining custom 65nm design rules and new manufacturing process modules, the 1.1-micron OmniBSI-2 pixel achieves industryleading low-light sensitivity as well as significantly improved dark current and full-well capacity. OmniBSI-2's custom pixel design rules also enable better pixel layout, better isolation, and significantly reduced crosstalk. Each of these advances represents a substantial improvement over the first generation OmniBSI technology resulting in better image quality, enhanced color reproduction and improved camera performance.

"By comparison, the new 1.1-micron OmniBSI-2 pixel not only outperforms our current 1.75-micron FSI architecture, but it also equals the performance of our industry-leading 1.4-micron BSI pixel that is currently in mass production," commented Howard Rhodes, vice president of process engineering at OmniVision. "Migrating to 1.1-micron BSI pixel architecture required moving production to TSMC's state-of-the-art 300-mm copper process, which enabled substantially improved design rules and more advanced process tools, resulting in tighter process control and improved defect density. Key to our success was the joint development by the OmniVision and TSMC R&D teams of multiple new process modules that substantially improved opto-electronic performance. We also leveraged our close partnership with joint venture partner VisEra Technologies to establish a 300-mm color filter fabrication capability."

"OmniVision and TSMC have been long standing partners in CMOS Image Sensor development. Our engineering teams collaboratively push the boundaries of digital imaging, making them an excellent development and manufacturing partners," said Sajiv Dalal, vice president, business management at TSMC North America. "OmniVision's product migration to 300-mm manufacturing will give it a clear competitive edge and we stand committed to continuously drive improved efficiencies to help widen the gap."

TSMC provides the foundry segment's leading CIS technology with the largest CIS production capacity. In 2009, TSMC supported a total capacity of approximately ten million eight-inch equivalent wafers, a six percent increase over its 2008 production capacity.

"TSMC has been a valuable partner in making the transition to this advanced process node," added Rhodes. "Their experience and expertise in 300mm processing at the advanced technology nodes and ability to continue enhancing the sensor performance have been invaluable in ramping this new pixel technology so quickly and seamlessly."

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