Sony invests $340M in stacked image sensor mfg
Sony Corp. has revealed it plans to invest about $340 million to boost its production of stacked CMOS image sensors in support of the demand brought about by the requirements for devices that include smartphones and tablets. In January 2014 Sony announced its plans to establish and invest in Yamagata Technology Centre (Yamagata TEC) as a facility mainly conducting the mastering process for stacked CMOS image sensors.
The latest investment is expected to enable Sony to complete subsequent stages of production, including the layering process, at Nagasaki TEC on semiconductor chips that have undergone the mastering process at Yamagata TEC, providing Sony with a fully integrated production system for stacked CMOS image sensors.
The stacked image sensor process makes the back-illuminated pixels on a separate wafer to the circuits used for signal processing. Mastering of this stacked structure refers to the manufacture of the photodiodes and wiring the stacked CMOS image sensors together.
This investment forms part of Sony's mid- to long-term plan to increase its total production capacity for image sensors to about 75,000 wafers per month, and is expected to increase the current capacity of roughly 60,000 wafers per month to nearly 68,000 wafers per month in August 2015.
Sony was the leading supplier of CMOS image sensors in 2012, according to Yole Developpement. Sony had 21 per cent of the market ahead of Omnivision on 19 per cent and Samsung on 18 per cent.
- Peter Clarke
EE Times Europe
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