Panasonic has developed an electrical control technology of the near infrared (NIR) light sensitivity of the same pixel in an organic CMOS image sensor. The sensitivity of all the pixels in the image sensor, which has directly stacked organic films, is simultaneously controlled by changing the applied voltage to the organic films.

This technology, of electrical control of the NIR light sensitivity of the same pixel in an organic CMOS image sensor, enables to switch between modes of colour imaging and NIR imaging frame by frame without a mechanical IR cut filter required for conventional image sensors. This allows miniaturising a camera system and improving its robustness. This technology also enables global shutter operation, making it suitable for applications in various fields of industry such as machine vision or intelligent transportation system, where fast and accurate inspection and recognition are necessary.

 
panasonic image sensor fig1 (cr) Figure 1: Application 1: Surveillance camera.  

This Panasonic technology paves the way for frame by frame switching between colour imaging mode and NIR imaging mode without the loss of resolution. Its development is based on the design technology of organic CMOS image sensors which enables to design the photoelectric conversion part and the readout circuit part independently.

 
panasonic image sensor fig2 (cr) Figure 2: Inspection with NIR transparency.