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A 640×512 CMOS image sensor with ultrawide dynamic range floating-point pixel-level ADC

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4 Author(s)
Yang, D.X.D. ; Inf. Syst. Lab., Stanford Univ., CA, USA ; Gamal, A.E. ; Fowler, Boyd ; Tian, H.

Analysis results demonstrate that multiple sampling can achieve consistently higher signal-to-noise ratio at equal or higher dynamic range than using other image sensor dynamic range enhancement schemes such as well capacity adjusting. Implementing multiple sampling, however, requires much higher readout speeds than can be achieved using typical CMOS active pixel sensor (APS). This paper demonstrates, using a 640×512 CMOS image sensor with 8-b bit-serial Nyquist rate analog-to-digital converter (ADC) per 4 pixels, that pixel-level ADC enables a highly flexible and efficient implementation of multiple sampling to enhance dynamic range. Since pixel values are available to the ADC's at all times, the number and timing of the samples as well as the number of bits obtained from each sample can be freely selected and read out at fast SRAM speeds. By sampling at exponentially increasing exposure times, pixel values with binary floating-point resolution can be obtained. The 640×512 sensor is implemented in 0.35-μm CMOS technology and achieves 10.5×10.5 μm pixel size at 29% fill factor. Characterization techniques and measured quantum efficiency, sensitivity, ADC transfer curve, and fixed pattern noise are presented. A scene with measured dynamic range exceeding 10000:1 is sampled nine times to obtain an image with dynamic range of 65536:1. Limits on achievable dynamic range using multiple sampling are presented

Published in:

Solid-State Circuits, IEEE Journal of  (Volume:34 ,  Issue: 12 )