Tower looms over 6in. image sensor

Tower looms over 6in. image sensor
David Manners Tower Semiconductor has developed a process which could make an image sensor the size of a six inch silicon wafer. Called ‘stitching’, the process allows a mask to be made containing say 100 x 100 pixels which can then, using a step and repeat machine, be replicated to create a 900 x 900 sensor. If needed, the stepper could repeat the mask pattern across the wafer’s entire surface. The biggest sensor Tower has manufactured has six million pixels but, theoretically, it could use the stitching process to fabricate a 100 million pixel sensor on a six inch wafer. That could be a useful device, says Dr Yacov Malinovich, Tower’s applications manager. “You need huge dies in applications where you can’t use optics – like using X-rays such as in dentistry,” said Malinovich. So far, Tower has been making image sensors for digital cameras and toys. Tower is offering an application specific image sensor service allowing customers to customise their sensors. “The cost is in the normal range of CMOS technology”, said the company’s v-p of marketing Reuven Marko, “but colour is more expensive.”


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