Emerging image sensor technology for FM


04 Aug 2021

A new report from IDTechEx, “Emerging Image Sensor Technologies 2021-2031: Applications and Markets”, explores the emerging image sensor market extensively, covering a wide range of technologies from flexible thin-film photodetectors to vision event.

Image detection is a critical capability, used in multiple applications ranging from webcams and smartphone cameras to autonomous vehicles and industrial inspection. The FM industry is reaching new heights of technological integration and seeking to embrace innovations like this. Despite the reluctance of some players in the sector to engage in digital transformation, the main services and facilities use the latest smart technologies for planning. Upgrades in image sensor technology have the potential to improve a multitude of surveillance capabilities, such as security surveillance or maintenance identification.

Motivation for emerging image sensor technologies

While conventional CMOS detectors for visible light – semiconductor devices that serve as “electronic eyes” – are well established and somewhat commonplace, at least for low value applications, there is considerable opportunity for hardware. More complex image detection that offers capabilities beyond simply acquiring red, green and blue intensity values ​​at each pixel. Much of this stems from the ever-increasing adoption of machine vision, in which image analysis is performed by computational algorithms. Machine learning requires as much input data as possible to establish correlations that can help identify and classify objects. Acquiring optical information over different wavelength ranges or with spectral resolution, for example, is therefore very advantageous.

Of course, emerging image sensor technologies offer many other advantages. This can include similar capabilities at lower cost, increased dynamic range, improved temporal resolution, spatially variable sensitivity, high resolution overall shutters, reducing unwanted influence of scattering, flexibility / compliance, etc.

Development and innovation avenues

Emerging image sensor technologies in the IDTechEx report include:

  • Hybrid image sensors – Adding an additional light absorbing layer on top of a CMOS readout circuit is a hybrid approach that uses organic semiconductors or quantum dots to increase spectral sensitivity in the shortwave infrared (SWIR) region. ). Currently dominated by expensive InGaAs sensors, this new technology promises a substantial price reduction and therefore the adoption of SWIR imaging for new applications such as autonomous vehicles.
  • Extended Reach Silicon – Considering the very high price of indium gallium arsenide (InGaAs) sensors, there is considerable motivation to develop much less expensive alternatives that can detect light towards the lower end of the SWIR spectral region. Such SWIR sensors could then be used in vehicles to provide better vision through fog and dust due to the reduced scattering.
  • Thin film photodetectors – Detecting light over a large area, rather than a single small detector, is highly desirable for biometric data acquisition and, if flexible, for imaging through the skin. Emerging approaches that use processable semiconductors in solution offer a compelling way to produce conformal large area photodetectors for applications such as under-display fingerprint detection.
  • Event vision – Autonomous vehicles, drones and high speed industrial applications require image detection with high temporal resolution. However, with conventional raster-based imaging, high temporal resolution produces large amounts of data that require computationally intensive processing. Event-based vision is a new way to obtain optical information that combines greater temporal resolution of rapidly changing image regions with much lower data transfer and subsequent processing requirements.

In summary, the growing adoption of machine vision offers an excellent opportunity for emerging image detection technologies that offer capabilities beyond conventional CMOS sensors. This report offers a comprehensive overview of the emerging image sensor technologies market, covering a multitude of applications ranging from autonomous vehicles to industrial quality control.

Emerging Image Sensor Technologies 2021-2031: Applications and Markets“, describes the current state and future application of a wide range of emerging image sensors. Also included are highly granular 10-year market forecasts by revenue and volume – broken down by technology and application – along with multiple application case studies and technology / business readiness assessments. The report also includes numerous company profiles based on interviews with start-ups and established companies.

Image: light graphics.

Article written by Bailey Sparkes | Posted 04 August 2021

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