Products

Image Sensor

  • Polarsens

    Polarsens is a CMOS Image Sensor pixel technology that has several different angle polarizer formed on chip during the semiconductor process allowing highly accurate alignment with pixel.

  • Polarizer image
    Source: Sony, IEDM2016, Lecture number 8.7

*Polarsens andPolarsensare trademarks of Sony Corporation.

  • Polarsens "lntroduction Part" (With Sound)

  • Polarsens "Application Part" (With Sound)

Four directional polarizer is formed on the image sensor

Sony Semiconductor Solutions’ polarization sensor can capture a four directional polarization image in one shot by the four directional polarizer (Fig.1). It can calculate the direction and degree of polarization (DoP) based on the intensity of each directional polarization. Together with subsequent signal processing, it can capture the polarization information*3 in real time*4.

  • *3. Degree of Polarization and Direction of Polarization
  • *4. Subject to subsequent signal processing power.
On-Chip Lens Polarizer photodiode

Fig.1. Structure

Polarizer is formed on chip under the on-chip lens layer

With conventional types of polarization sensors, the polarizer is attached on top of the on-chip lens layer (Fig.2), however with Sony Semiconductor Solutions’ polarization sensor the polarizer is formed on chip under the on-chip lens layer (Fig.3). A shorter distance between the polarizer and the photodiode improves the extinction ratio*5 and the incident angle dependence.
Since the polarizer is formed during the semiconductor process, form and formulation of polarizer, uniformity, mass productivity and durability are excellent compared to conventional polarization sensors. Furthermore, Sony Semiconductor Solutions’ Polarization sensor is covered with an anti-reflection layer which helps to reduce reflectance and avoids poor flare and ghost characteristics.

  • *5. Extinction Ratio
    Extinction ratio is a specification to measure polarization. The extinction ratio of polarization image sensor is the ratio between the sensitivity of transmission axis light and the sensitivity of extinction axis light (the sensitivity of transmission axis light / the sensitivity of extinction axis light). The higher the number, the better the specification and performance.

Structure Comparison

What is polarization?

Light has physical elements : brightness (amplitude), color (wavelength) and polarization (vibration direction). Lights from the Sun or fluorescent lamps vibrate in various directions and is called unpolarized light.

偏光板(偏光子)を通った光は偏光している

Fig.4.

Sony Semiconductor Solutions’ polarization sensor has wire-grid polarizers. Parallel light against polarizer passes through it, while perpendicular light is cut off at the polarizer.

Degree of Polarization and Polarization Direction

Polarization has two physical information, which are the degree of polarization and the direction of polarization. This information can be used for various applications such as surface scratch detection, particle inspection, distortion and shape recognition which has traditional been difficult to detect.

Example of Degree of Polarization (DoP)

The light is reflected by the surface of the object in polarized and unpolarized lights. The DoP of the reflected light depends on the surface condition (material, color, roughness etc.) and the angle of reflection.

  • Fig.5. Normal image

  • Fig.6. Degree of Polarization image

In the Degree of Polarization image (Fig.6) the white is high polarization and black is low polarization.
As example, the stitch is easily visible due to the difference in the degree of polarization of the thread and leather.

Example of Polarization Direction

Polarization direction provides the direction information of reflected plane of an object.

  • Fig.7. Normal image

  • Fig.8. Polarization Direction image

The direction of polarization image (Fig.8) shows the angle of the polarization direction in color using HSV color mapping (Fig.9).
In this example, the upper side of the cube is highlighted in light blue meaning that the angle of the polarization direction is 90 degree (according to Fig.9).

Fig.9. HSV color mapping

Examples of Polarization imaging applications

Glass inspection (scratch and stain)

  • Fig.10. Normal image

  • Fig.11. Degree of Polarization image

These examples show dents and dust on a homogenous glass plane. We can easily find scratches and stains (fingerprint and dust) due to differences in the degree of polarization. (Fig.10,11)

Tablet filling inspection

  • Fig.12. Normal image

  • Fig.13. Degree of Polarization image

Thanks to the difference in the degree of polarization between the tablet and the aluminum package, it is easy to identify whether the tablets are filled in or not. (Fig.13)

Distortion inspection

  • Fig.14. Normal image

  • Fig.15. Polarization Direction image

With the information of direction of polarization, we can identify both distortions and the direction of distortion of the plane. (Fig.15)

Removal reflection

  • Fig.16. Normal image

  • Fig.17. Removed reflection image

Polarization information can be used to remove reflections (Fig.17). Sony Semiconductor Solutions’ polarization sensor has a four-directional polarizer, which can simultaneously remove the reflections in multi planes.(Fig.17)

All images were generated by Sony Semiconductor Solutions’ polarization sensor’s evaluation board.

Sony' s Polarization products

Polarization sensor that can capture a four directional polarization image in one shot
Together with subsequent signal processing, it can capture the polarization information in real time.

Sony reserves the right to change products and specifications without prior notice.

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