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An image sensor with enhanced sensitivity for near ultraviolet radiation (UVA) has been fabricated in TFA (Thin Film on ASIC) technology. The device employs an amorphous silicon pin detector optimized for UV detection by carbonization and layer thickness variation. The front electrode consists of an Al grid or TCO. Measurements show a peak responsivity of 90 mAW-1 at 380 nm. The UV Imager prototype consists of 128 × 128 pixels with a size of 25 μm × 25 [tim each, fabricated in a 0.7 μm CMOS process. Global sensitivity control serves to achieve a dynamic range in excess of 80 dB. The sensor can be used in fields such as chemical, medical and astronomical applications. Furthermore, a UV monitor has been developed, suited to warn of excessive sunlight exposure, considering skin type and sun protection factor.
Image sensors in TFA (Thin Film on ASIC) technology have been successfully fabricated and tested. This paper provides a survey of TFA research results so far and outlines future perspectives. The properties of different a-Si:H b/w and color thin film detectors are evaluated, including spectral sensitivity, dark current, temperature influence and transient behavior. Furthermore several TFA prototypes and emerging concepts are presented, ranging from a simple one-transistor cell design to a locally autoadaptive sensor.
Band gap and defect engineered amorphous silicon based nipin photo diodes with bias controlled spectral response have been fabricated successfully. The devices exhibit good linearity over a wide illumination range and linearly independent spectral response curves which are required to generate a standard RGB-signal. In the bias range from -1.5 V to 1.5 V a dynamic range exceeding 90 dB for two color sensors and 80 dB for three color sensors has been observed. The general operation principle of the multispectral photo diode is discussed using a numerical simulation program. The model describes the defect state distribution of dangling bonds according to the defect-pool model and uses coherent wave propagation in the device to calculate the profile of photo generated carriers. Additionally, an analytical model has been developed to be included into standard circuit simulation programs like SPICE (Simulation Program with Integrated Circuit Emphasis). The analytical model uses linear field approximations in both i-layers of the device.
A TFA image sensor consists of an amorphous silicon based multilayer structure on top of a crystalline ASIC. The Multilayer acts as the optical detector, whereas the ASIC performs analog or digital signal processing for each individual pixel. Depending on the operation Mode, the dynamic range of the detector exceeds the performance of conventional CCDs by far. Pixel electronics which is adapted to the requirements of the detector can thereby maximize the dynamic range of the complete sensor array. Crosstalk among adjacent pixels can be eliminated by technological or electronic Means.
A novel α-Si(C):H color sensor array has been developed. In this device a single pixel consists of a combination of an amorphous silicon nipin detector and a crystalline operational amplifier. Steady state and transient opto electronic behavior of the nipin structure have been studied in order to optimize the design of the image sensor. Nipin structures are found to exhibit excellent dynamic range (125 dB) and linearity. The crystalline electronics causes only very little signal distortion which makes this sensor device a potential candidate for color image capture and processing for a wide range of illumination levels.
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