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The dark current in the active-pixel-sensor (APS) cell of a CMOS imager is known to be mainly generated in the regions of bird's beak after the local oxidation of silicon process as well as the surface damage caused by the implantation of high doping concentration. Furthermore, shallow and deep pn-junctions can improve the photo-sensitivity for light of short and long wavelengths, respectively. In this paper, two new photodiode structures using p-substrate and lightly-doped sensor implant SN- as pn-junction photodiode with the regions of bird's beak embraced by SN- and p-field implants, respectively, are proposed and analyzed to reduce dark current and enhance the overall spectral response. 5 μm×5 μm APS cells fabricated in a 0.35-μm single-poly-triple-metal (1P3M) 3.3-V CMOS process are designed by using the proposed photodiode structures. As shown from the experimental results, the two proposed photodiode structures of 5 μm×5 μm APS cells have lower dark currents of 30.6 mV/s and 35.2 mV/s at the reverse-biased voltage of 2 V and higher spectral response, as compared to the conventional structure and other photodiode structures. Thus, the two proposed new photodiode structures can be applied to CMOS imager systems with small pixel size, high resolution, and high quality.
Date of Publication: Feb. 2004