This section provides an overview for image sensors as well as their applications and principles. Also, please take a look at the list of 10 image sensor manufacturers and their company rankings.
Table of Contents
An image sensor or image sensor is a component that converts light information into electrical signals.
Image sensor is the CCD (Charge Coupled Device) and CMOS (Complementary Metal Oxide Semiconductor) components used in digital cameras and other photographic equipment.
The image sensor is the equivalent of the "eye" in a machine. The number of pixels used in a camera refers to the number of image sensor.
Each sensor detects the intensity of light. The light intensity is quantified and processed as an electrical signal.
Image sensors has evolved along with the history of cameras.
In recent years, they have been applied to medical equipment and industrial robots. In industrial settings, image sensors are used in systems that replace visual inspections.
For example, they are used for quantity counting, presence/absence inspection to check for missing items, and visual inspection to check for scratches and defects.
In combination with advanced image analysis technology, OCR (Optical Character Recognition) and 3D measurement have also been realized.
With the development of edge computing, image sensors are also indispensable devices in the age of AI, as seen in the development of car autopilot systems that combine image sensors with machine learning at the end.
The center of image sensors are light-receiving element (photodiode). This semiconductor senses the intensity of light and stores it as an electrical charge.
When light strikes the photosensor, an amount of electrons proportional to the intensity of the light is produced. The basic principle of image sensors are to use the properties of the semiconductor to store electrons and quantify the amount of electrons.
There are devices based on different principles, depending on how the electrons stored in the photosensor are converted into a signal.
In a CCD, this charge is converted into an electrical signal by means of a CCD transfer path. In this transfer path, the charge moves from element to element like a bucket relay.
In CMOS, each photosensitive element has its own amplifier, so the charge can be transferred without having to go through multiple photosensitive elements.
Since CMOS is driven by a single device, its advantages are low power consumption and high processing speed. It is also notable for its lower manufacturing cost than CCD.
Although there are comparisons that CCDs have an advantage over CMOS in terms of image quality, advances in image sensors, such as noise reduction technology in CMOS, are constantly being made.
Image sensors come in several sizes. In general, image quality tends to improve as sensor size increases. The reason is that the larger the sensor size, the more light it can collect. The greater the range of light that can be captured, i.e., the greater the dynamic range, the better the image can be captured with fewer blown-out whites and blacks.
In addition, the larger the size of the image sensors with the same number of pixels, the better the image quality because the light-receiving area per pixel (1 pixel) is larger, which also has the effect of reducing noise.
Illumination is a device that interpolates image sensors for FA.
Illumination is necessary for the image sensors to stably detect a workpiece without being affected by ambient light.
There are three typical lighting methods.
The price of image sensors are determined by two selection points: "field of view" and "accuracy".
The larger the number of pixels in image sensors, the more detail can be detected. The larger the number of pixels, the larger the size of the sensor and the higher the price. However, the larger the number of pixels, the longer it takes to transfer the data, which increases the processing time. It is important to select a sensor that matches the tact of the system being operated.
The higher the pixel count, the higher the accuracy of the image sensors. Depending on the object to be detected, a monochrome sensor or a color sensor may be required, but a color camera capable of recognizing RGB/HSV color space will be more expensive.
*Including some distributors, etc.
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Toshiba Electronic Devices & Storage Corporation is a division of Toshiba focusing on providing designs for end-product developers as well as semiconductor and drive equipment for automotive, industrial equipment, green energy, and consumer and personal electronic devices. Toshiba’s storage products include cloud-scale and enterprise-level products, and PC hard drives. Semiconductor products include Si Cower devices, MOSFETs, IGBTs, IEGTs, isolators, solid state relays, power management and intelligent power ICs, diodes, bipolar transistors, microcontrollers, automotive devices, ICs for wireless communication equipment, general purpose logic ICs, radio-frequency devices, sensors, and linear image sensors.
Ranking as of March 2023 in United States of AmericaDerivation Method
|4||Toshiba Electronic Devices & Storage||25%|
Ranking as of March 2023 GloballyDerivation Method
|4||Teledyne Scientific & Imaging||14.3%|
|5||Toshiba Electronic Devices & Storage||14.3%|
Derivation MethodThe ranking is calculated based on the click share within the image sensor page as of March 2023. Click share is defined as the total number of clicks for all companies during the period divided by the number of clicks for each company.
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