As mobile devices get thinner, the components inside them must scale down, too. Samsung’s latest chip, the 1.0μm-pixel-based 16 megapixel (MP) CMOS image sensor, did exactly that. It brings high resolution imaging to one of the slimmest smartphones in the market.
Image sensors hold an array of pixels, or pockets that collect light particles called photons. Better the image sensor, the more light it accurately captures through its pixels, which it then converts into electrical signals. Therefore, more pixels that are larger in size allow for better picture quality.
Slimmer devices have less space for interior components, so pixels get smaller as well, making the absorption of photons much more complicated. To continue to achieve high-resolution imaging, the solution thus far has been to maximize the photon absorption of each pixel. When it comes to the limitations due to scaling, however, this method still faces a number of challenges. The pixels’ sensitivity to light may decrease while loose photons create crosstalk that causes noise.
Samsung introduced ISOCELL technology in 2014 which reduces crosstalk of photons between pixels by 30 percent and has a 20 percent wider chief ray angle, allowing pixels to collect more light so as to capture colors more precisely.
The 1.0μm-pixel-based image sensor measures only about 5mm high, roughly 20 percent thinner than the previous 1.12μm model and offers comparable image quality. Device manufacturers now have more flexibility in designing products that are sleek and stylish and capable of taking high resolution, share-worthy photos.