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Wednesday, October 11, 2017
Samsung Takes on Sony With New ICOCELL Image Sensors for Smartphones

Samsung Electronics today introduced two new ISOCELL image sensors: 1.28-micrometer (µm) 12-megapixel (Mp) ISOCELL Fast 2L9 with Dual Pixel technology, and ultra-small 0.9µm 24Mp ISOCELL Slim 2X7 with Tetracell technology.

Samsung ISOCELL image sensors fall into four categories - Fast, Slim, Bright and Dual - depending on their key attributes. ISOCELL Fast 2L9 and Slim 2X7 both offer high resolution image sensors in small chip packages, delivering detailed pictures in low-light environments without a camera bump.

With Dual Pixel technology, the ISOCELL Fast 2L9 delivers ultra-fast auto-focus at a reduced pixel size from the previous Dual Pixel sensor's 1.4µm to 1.28µm. Dual Pixel technology employs two photodiodes in each and every pixel of the sensor instead of only one. With 12 million focus detecting pixels, the sensor is able to quickly focus on small still objects, but also lock on and track moving objects without losing focus, even in low-light environments. With smaller pixel size, the ISOCELL Fast 2L9 can fit into slimmer camera modules, enabling bump-less designs for smartphones. Dual Pixel technology allows depth-of-field effect for taking bokeh, or aesthetically out-of-focused photographs, through a traditional single lens camera.

At 0.9µm, the ISOCELL Slim 2X7 is the first to have the pixel size below 1.0µm. Samsung says that even with such a small pixel size, the Slim 2X7 is able to provide high color fidelity with less noise due to the improved ISOCELL technology's deeper DTI (deep trench isolation) that reduces color crosstalk and expands the full-well capacity to hold more light information. In addition, the small 0.9µm pixel size enables a 24Mp image sensor to be fitted in a thinner camera module, allowing premium smartphones to offer high resolution cameras in a very slim design.

The ISOCELL Slim 2X7 is also packed with Tetracell technology, which lets the sensor take brighter photographs in the dark and more detailed ones in well-lit environments. Tetracell improves performance in low-light situations by merging four neighboring pixels to work as one to increase light sensitivity. In bright environments, Tetracell uses a re-mosaic algorithm to produce full resolution images.

It is predicted that Samsung's new image sensors will be used in the company's next Galaxy Smartphones. Currently, Samsung receives half of the required image sensors from Sony and the other half from its own Semiconductor Business Department.

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