News Releases

September 20, 2012

A sensor producing high quality imaging for DSC and offering thinner solutions for smart phones

Development of a 1/3.06-type 13M-pixel SmartFSI®*1 image sensor

Available from December 2012

Osaka,Japan-Industrial Devices Company, Panasonic Corporation has developed a SmartFSI®*1 image sensor which delivers higher sensitivity, lower noise and higher color reproduction. Already supporting*2 14M-pixel and 16M-pixel imagers for digital still cameras. In the near future, 1/3.06-type 13M-pixel imager will be developed for smart phone and tablet applications, ready for mass production in December 2012.

Related Information

The reason for adopting this sensor in smart phone and tablet applications, is the high image quality with an excellent S/N ratio[1] and a strong color reproduction, as high as those seen by high end digital cameras. The size, performance and design of the sensor allows a thinner camera module to be produced.


  1. Despite the extremely small pixel size, a high sensitivity of 3230el/lx/sec/µm2 , one of the highest level in the market today.*3 This gives the opportunity for mobile cameras and tablets to adopt higher pixel numbers.
  2. High sensitive amplifiers [2] and low noise transistors in the pixels, offer a high S/N ratio, twice as high*4 as those of conventional devices. Furthermore, with its unique structure to collect the maximum amount of light and RGB color arrangement, it leads to excellent color reproduction with reduced color aliasing [3].
  3. The angle of the incident light entering into the sensor or pixel has been widened to allow camera modules to become thinner in size.

【New Technology】

  1. Process technology for a high sensitive photo diode [4] is formed by photo-diodes spread widely and deeply on a small pixel area.
  2. A fine semiconductor fabrication technology can reduce the parasitic capacitance [5], resulting in a high sensitive pixel amplifier and a low noise transistor.
  3. Design techniques create a unique light collecting structure that best matches for camera modules.


Start of mass production : Dec. 2012
Price : Depending on quantity

*1 “SmartFSI” is a registered trade mark or trade mark of Panasonic Corporation.
*2 14M-pixel:released on May 12, 2011、16M-pixel:released on June 14, 2012
*3 Research by Panasonic Corporation
*4 MN34120 series (1/2.33-type approximately 16.4M-pixel(effective pixels))


This product was demonstrated at CEATEC JAPAN on Oct. 2-6 held at Makuhari Messe

Tentative Specification



Optical format

1/3.06-type 4:3 aspect ratio

Pixel size

1.12 µm x 1.12 µm

Total pixel numbers

4280 x 3312 = 14.2 M-pixel

Effective pixel numbers

4224 x 3168 = 13.4 M-pixel

Valid pixel numbers

4208 x 3152 = 13.3 M-pixel


3230 el/lx/sec/µm2

Note : Valid pixel number means the area that is guarantied within the effective pixel numbers in the image area

【Cross-sectional view of pixel】

【Explanation of technical terms】

[1] S/N

S/N is an abbreviation of signal-noise ratio or signal-to-noise ratio. The value reveals the brightness and clarity of the image without noise, so that the image becomes clear with increasing S/N.

[2] Pixel amplifier

An amplifier inside a pixel of a MOS image sensor, which converts the electron-signal generated in a photo-diode, by the incident light into voltage-signal.

[3] Color aliasing

Image sensors used for digital cameras can not tell the color of the incident light, so that the primary colors – R, G, B, are picked out by color filters. Thus, in the bright part of the image or borderline of the color, the balance of the color in each pixel collapses, which causes erroneous recognition of the color at the color processing. stage.

[4] Photo Diode

Photo diode is an important element of image sensors which has a function that converts light to electron and ability to store the converted electrons.

[5] Parasitic capacitance

Parasitic capacitance is a capacitance which occurs unintentionally, when designing the electronic device or circuits.

[6] Light separation wall

Light separation wall is a wall surrounding the color filter made from the lower refractive index material rather than the surrounding materials, which reflect light. Its purpose is to concentrate the light coming in from various directions.

[7] Light guide

The light guide is made from material with lower reflective index rather than the surrounding materials, which concentrate light. Its purpose is to steer the concentrated light to the photo diode.