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Samsung launches first 108MP image sensor for smart phones

13 Aug 2019

Electronics giant says it is taking mobile photography “to the next level”.

Samsung Electronics, a leading developer of advanced semiconductor technology, has introduced its 108 megapixel (MP) Isocell Bright HMX – said to be the first mobile image sensor to exceed 100 million pixels.

The Isocell Bright HMX is the result of close collaboration between Chinese phone manufacturer Xiaomi Corp. and Samsung. With this development, Samsung says it is expanding its 0.8µm sensor capbility beyond its recently-announced 64MP: “At 108 megapixels, the resolution is equivalent to that of a high-end DSLR camera,” says the new launch announcement.

The Isocell Bright HMX can produce exceptional photos even in extreme lighting conditions, say the developers. Being the first mobile image sensor to adopt a large 1/1.33-inch size, the HMX can absorb more light in low-lit settings than smaller sensors and its pixel-merging Tetracell technology allows the sensor to mimic big-pixel sensors, producing brighter 27MP images.

In bright environments, the Smart-ISO, a mechanism that intelligently selects the level of amplifier gains according to the illumination of the environment for optimal light-to-electric signal conversion, switches to a low ISO to improve pixel saturation and produce vivid photographs.

The mechanism also uses a high ISO in darker settings that helps reduce noise, resulting in clearer pictures, say the developers. For advanced filming, the HMX supports video recording without losses in field-of-view at resolutions up to 6K (6016 x 3384) at 30-frames-per-second.

Korea-China close partnership

Lin Bin, co-founder and president of Xiaomi, commented, “For the Isocell Bright HMX, Xiaomi and Samsung have worked closely together from the early conceptual stage to production, which has resulted in this groundbreaking 108MP sensor.

“We are very pleased that picture resolutions previously available only in a few top-tier DSLR cameras can now be designed into smart phones. As we continue our partnership, we anticipate bringing not only new mobile camera experiences but also a platform through which our users can create unique content,” he added.

Yongin Park, executive VP sensor business at Samsung Electronics, commented, “Samsung is continuously pushing for innovations in pixel and logic technologies to engineer our Isocell image sensors to capture the world as close to how our eyes perceive them.

Mass production of the Isocell Bright HMX image sensors will begin later this month, August.

· Samsung first announced its Isocell technology in 2013, which reduces color-cross talk between pixels by placing a physical barrier, allowing small-sized pixels to achieve higher color fidelity. Based on this technology, Samsung introduced the industry’s first 1.0µm-pixel image sensor in 2015 and 0.9-pixel sensor in 2017. In June 2018, Samsung introduced an upgraded pixel isolation technology, known as Isocell Plus.

Synopsys, Optical Solutions GroupBRD Optical Co., LtdInfraTec GmbHAVANTES BVAltechnaSpectrum Scientific Inc. -  SSI OpticsESPROS Photonics AG
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