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Multiple-Ramp Column-Parallel ADC Architectures for CMOS Image Sensors

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4 Author(s)

This paper presents a CMOS imager with a column-parallel ADC architecture based on a multiple-ramp single-slope (MRSS) ADC. Like the well-known column-level single-slope ADC, an MRSS ADC uses a very simple analog column circuit, which mainly consists of an analog comparator and some switches. A prototype imager using the MRSS ADC architecture was realized in a 0.25 CMOS process. Measurements demonstrate that the conversion speed of an MRSS ADC is 3.3 higher than a single-slope ADC while dissipating only 16% more power. Furthermore, the MRSS ADC can be easily adapted to exhibit a companding characteristic, which exploits the amplitude-dependent nature of the photon shot noise present in imager signals. Measurements show that the resulting multiple-ramp multiple-slope ADC is 25% faster than an MRSS ADC while dissipating the same amount of power.

Published in:

IEEE Journal of Solid-State Circuits  (Volume:42 ,  Issue: 12 )