March 5, 2015 – Pasadena, CA – Forza Silicon (www.forzasilicon.com), a leader of advanced image sensor and mixed-signal IC designs, announced today that researchers at NHK presented the design architecture and specifications of the unprecedented 133 megapixel (MP) 60 frames per second (fps) CMOS image sensor, an advancement resulting from a collaboration between NHK and Forza Silicon, at the IEEE International Solid-State Circuits Conference (ISSCC). ISSCC continues to be the leading technical forum of the semiconductor industry where companies and universities present advances in solid-state and integrated circuit designs that have been fabricated and tested. The image sensor solution presented by NHK was designed by Forza Silicon and fabricated using a 0.18 µm 3.3V/1.8V process with 1D stitching.
To date conventional image sensors for 8K applications have used 8 MP and 33 MP solutions in large optical formats. These sensor solutions have not been effective in managing the tradeoffs between size and resolution. In order to eliminate the bulky lens/color-prism optical system of previous generation cameras, the team developed a single-chip 133 MP image sensor. The sensor takes advantage of Forza Silicon’s Gen 3 readout architecture to achieve frame frequency of 60 fps. The Gen 3 readout architecture uses a pseudo-column parallel design with 14b redundant successive approximation register ADCs to achieve a throughput of 128 Gb/s at full resolution and frame rate. With this joint development, NHK and Forza have reached the next milestone in high-resolution, high frame-rate broadcast technology.
“Our continued partnership with Forza Silicon through the years to support NHK has resulted in the success of a number of significant projects such as the development of the 133 MP sensor, and previously the 33 MP Super Hi-Vision image sensor. Forza’s dedicated support and its image sensor design expertise enabled us to achieve the Super Hi-Vision 8K single-chip camera —the largest pixel count of any video image sensor,” said Dr. Hiroshi Shimamoto, senior research engineer at NHK Science & Technology Research Laboratories (STRL). Besides the ISSCC 2015 presentation, this sensor and prototype camera system has been showcased at the STRL Open House 2014.
“The advanced research and development initiatives by NHK continue to push the boundaries for UHDTV broadcast experiences. NHK’s next-generation digital broadcast systems stem from their long heritage as the world’s premier R&D center for broadcast camera technology. The groundbreaking technologies we’ve jointly developed have evolved over a span of 10 years as a result of our tight collaboration, and Forza’s decades of design experience and wide selection of silicon-proven IP,” said Barmak Mansoorian, president & co-founder at Forza Silicon.
Forza Silicon (Pasadena, CA – www.forzasilicon.com) is a privately-held, global leader in fabless semiconductor design, specializing in analog/mixed-signal and highly sensitive, advanced CMOS image sensors for visible and infrared digital camera applications. Forza Silicon’s Custom IC Design and Integrated Production Services model offers a complete end-to-end solution from circuit design to the delivery of highly reliable production parts. Our consultative approach with clients, combined with our deep understanding of CMOS imaging technology and proven design process minimizes risk and reduces production costs, while providing state-of-the-art designs that accelerate time-to-market. Application areas include biomedical, automotive, mobile phones, digital signage, military/defense, intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR), digital cinematography, industrial, and more.
NHK Science & Technology Research Laboratories (Tokyo, Japan – www.nhk.or.jp/strl/english) is the sole research institute in Japan specializing in broadcasting technology. As a division of NHK, Japan’s national public broadcaster which broadcasts on two terrestrial television channels, two satellite television channels, and three radio channels, STRL has the role of leading Japan in broadcasting technology and enriching broadcasting culture. To fulfill its role, STRL conducts a wide range of research and development activities and proactively engages in international and domestic standardization efforts for the technology it develops.
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